Molecular Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 374 Views Dec 20, 2022

MicroRNAs (miRNA) are small (21–24 nt) non-coding RNAs involved in many biological processes in both plants and animals. The biogenesis of plant miRNAs starts with the transcription of MIRNA (MIR) genes by RNA polymerase II; then, the primary miRNA transcripts are cleaved by Dicer-like proteins into mature miRNAs, which are then loaded into Argonaute (AGO) proteins to form the effector complex, the miRNA-induced silencing complex (miRISC). In Arabidopsis , some MIR genes are expressed in a tissue-specific manner; however, the spatial patterns of MIR gene expression may not be the same as the spatial distribution of miRISCs due to the non-cell autonomous nature of some miRNAs, making it challenging to characterize the spatial profiles of miRNAs. A previous study utilized protoplasting of green fluorescent protein (GFP) marker transgenic lines followed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) to isolate cell-type-specific small RNAs. However, the invasiveness of this approach during the protoplasting and cell sorting may stimulate the expression of stress-related miRNAs. To non-invasively profile cell-type-specific miRNAs, we generated transgenic lines in which root cell layer-specific promoters drive the expression of AGO1 and performed immunoprecipitation to non-invasively isolate cell-layer-specific miRISCs. In this protocol, we provide a detailed description of immunoprecipitation of root cell layer-specific GFP-AGO1 using EN7::GFP-AGO1 and ACL5::GFP-AGO1 transgenic plants, followed by small RNA sequencing to profile single-cell-type-specific miRNAs. This protocol is also suitable to profile cell-type-specific miRISCs in other tissues or organs in plants, such as flowers or leaves.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 1792 Views Feb 20, 2022

At the end of about 80% of the operon in Escherichia coli, translation termination decouples transcription, leading to Rho-dependent transcription termination (RDT). However, no in vitro or in vivo assay system has proven to be good enough to see the 3’ end of the mRNA generated by RDT. Here, we present a cell-free assay system that could provide detailed information on the 3’ end of a transcript RNA generated by RDT. Our protocol shows how to extract transcript RNA generated by transcription reactions from a cell-free extract, followed by an RNA oligomer ligation to the 3’ end of a transcript RNA of interest. The 3' end of the RNA is amplified using RT-PCR. Its genetic location can be determined using a gene-specific primer extension reaction. The 3’ ends of mRNA can be visualized and quantified by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. One significant advantage of a cell-free assay system is that factors involved in the generation of the 3' end, such as proteins and sRNA, can be directly assayed by exogenously adding factor(s) to the reaction.

Graphic abstract:

An illustration of the experimental methodology.

0 Q&A 5149 Views Sep 5, 2018
Here we provide a detailed step-by-step protocol for using lentivirus to manipulate miRNA expression in Area X of juvenile zebra finches and for analyzing the consequences on song learning and song performance. This protocol has four parts: 1) making the lentiviral construct to overexpress miRNA miR-9; 2) packaging the lentiviral vector; 3) stereotaxic injection of the lentivirus into Area X of juvenile zebra finches; 4) analysis of song learning and song performance in juvenile and adult zebra finches. These methods complement the methods employed in recent works that showed changing FoxP2 gene expression in Area X with lentivirus or adeno-associated virus leads to impairments in song behavior.
0 Q&A 5976 Views Apr 20, 2018
This protocol describes the generation and functional validation of microRNA (miRNA) sponge or decoy constructs. When expressed from a strong promoter, these transcripts can sequester specific miRNA:RISC complexes, thereby resulting in a derepression of endogenous target mRNA. Hence, cells expressing such sponges display a partial or full miRNA loss-of-function phenotype.

Depending on the sponge sequence, the activity of any miRNA of choice can be inhibited by sponge sequestration, but it should be noted that these constructs do not seem to be specific for one particular miRNA. Rather, all miRNAs of the same family as defined by the seed sequence will be affected, albeit to a different degree.

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