Molecular Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 758 Views Mar 20, 2023

E-cigarette (E-cig) inhalation affects health status by modulating inflammation profiles in several organs, including the brain, lung, heart, and colon. The effect of flavored fourth-generation pod-based E-cigs (JUUL) on murine gut inflammation is modulated by both flavor and exposure period. Exposure of mice to JUUL mango and JUUL mint for one month upregulated inflammatory cytokines, particularly TNF-α, IL-6, and Cxcl-1 (IL-8). JUUL Mango effects were more prominent than those incurred by JUUL Mint after one month of exposure. However, JUUL Mango reduced the expression of colonic inflammatory cytokines after three months of exposure. In this protocol, we detail the process of RNA isolation from the mouse colon and the use of extracted RNA in profiling the inflammatory milieu. Efficient RNA extraction from the murine colon is the most important step in the evaluation of inflammatory transcripts in the colon.

0 Q&A 953 Views Oct 5, 2022
The quantification of plant hormones and related gene expression is essential to improve the understanding of the molecular regulation of plant growth and development. However, plant hormone quantification is still challenging due to extremely low endogenous levels and high chemical diversity. In this study, we present a convenient extraction protocol that enables the simultaneous extraction of both phytohormones and RNA from the same sample in a small quantity (approximately 10 mg). Using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC–MS/MS), this protocol provides a method to quantify 13 phytohormones and their derivatives from four classes (cytokinin, auxin, abscisic acid, and gibberellin) at the speed of 14 min per sample.

0 Q&A 1298 Views Mar 5, 2022

The impact of viral diseases on human health is becoming increasingly prevalent globally with the burden of disease being shared between resource-rich and poor areas. As seen in the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, there is a need to establish viral detection techniques applicable to resource-limited areas that provide sensitive and specific testing with a logistically conscious mindset. Herein, we describe a direct-to-PCR technology utilizing mechanical homogenization prior to viral PCR detection, which allows the user to bypass traditional RNA extraction techniques for accurate detection of human coronavirus. This methodology was validated in vitro, utilizing human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), and then clinically, utilizing patient samples to test for SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this manuscript, we describe in detail the protocol utilized to determine the limit of detection for this methodology with in vitro testing of HCoV-229E.

0 Q&A 2769 Views Jan 20, 2021

Cyclic diguanylate monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a second messenger signaling molecule that drives the transition from planktonic to the biofilm mode of growth in many bacterial species. Pseudomonas aeruginosa has at least two surface sensing systems that produce c-di-GMP in response to surface attachment, the Wsp and Pil-Chp systems. We recently used a plasmid-based c-di-GMP reporter (pPcdrA::gfp) to describe how the Wsp system generates heterogeneity in surface sensing, resulting in two physiologically distinct subpopulations of cells during early biofilm formation. One subpopulation has elevated c-di-GMP and produces biofilm matrix, serving as the founders of initial microcolonies. The other subpopulation has low c-di-GMP and engages in surface motility, allowing for exploration of the surface. Here, we describe the protocol for a key experiment to confirm our initial observation of c-di-GMP heterogeneity during surface sensing: the use of flow-assisted cell sorting (FACS) to isolate subpopulations of cells with high and low c-di-GMP reporter activity, followed by quantitative Reverse Transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) of genes that are known to be transcriptionally regulated in response to cellular c-di-GMP levels (pelA, pslA). This protocol can be adapted by others to isolate subpopulations of high- and low- c-di-GMP P. aeruginosa cells that are genetically identical, but phenotypically distinct for future experiments examining specific mRNA transcripts as we did or, presumably, for additional applications like RNAseq, proteomics, or TNseq.

Graphical abstract

2 Q&A 3693 Views Jan 20, 2021

Given the scale of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the need for reliable, scalable testing, and the likelihood of reagent shortages, especially in resource-poor settings, we have developed an RT-qPCR assay that relies on an alternative to conventional viral reverse transcriptases, a thermostable reverse transcriptase/DNA polymerase (RTX) (Ellefson et al., 2016). Here we show that RTX performs comparably to the other assays sanctioned by the CDC and validated in kit format. We demonstrate two modes of RTX use – (i) dye-based RT-qPCR assays that require only RTX polymerase, and (ii) TaqMan RT-qPCR assays that use a combination of RTX and Taq DNA polymerases (as the RTX exonuclease does not degrade a TaqMan probe). We also provide straightforward recipes for the purification of this alternative reagent RTX. We anticipate that in low resource or point-of-need settings researchers could obtain the available constructs and begin to develop their own assays, within whatever regulatory framework exists for them.

0 Q&A 3978 Views Mar 20, 2020
The single-cell transcriptome is the set of messenger RNA molecules expressed in one cell. It is extremely variable and changes according to external, physical and biochemical conditions. Due to sensitivity shortages, most of genetic studies use bulk samples, providing only the average gene expression. Single-cell technologies have provided a powerful approach to a more detailed understanding of the heterogenic populations and minority cells. However, since it is still a quite novel technique, standardized protocol has to be established. Single-cell qPCR, although partly limited by the number of genes, is relatively simple to analyze. Therefore, its use is accessible without the necessity to recourse to complex bioinformatics analyses. The main steps for single-cell qPCR, as illustrated in this protocol, are composed by single-cell isolation, cell lysate, cDNA reverse-transcription synthesis, amplification for cDNA library generation, and finally, quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
0 Q&A 7408 Views May 5, 2018
We have developed a protocol to purify RNA from DSS (Dextran Sulfate Sodium)-treated mouse tissues. This method, which prevents downstream inhibition of q-RT-PCR observed in DSS-treated tissues, relies on successive precipitations with lithium chloride.
0 Q&A 5364 Views May 5, 2018
Human norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide, resulting in estimated mortality of ~210,000 each year, of whom most are children under the age of five. However, norovirus can infect people of all age groups. There is a risk of prolonged infection in children, the elderly and patients who are immunocompromised. To study the inhibition of persistent norovirus replication by small molecule antivirals in vivo, we used a murine norovirus CR6 strain (MNV.CR6). We demonstrated earlier that efficient small molecules can reduce viral shedding in the stool of infected mice. Here we present how to generate the MNV.CR6 virus stock, infect type I and II interferon receptor knockout AG129 mice via oral gavage, administer antivirals to mice, and quantify viral genome copies in the stool of these mice.
5 Q&A 24215 Views Mar 20, 2018
Gene expression in eukaryotic cells is tightly regulated at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. Posttranscriptional processes, including pre-mRNA splicing, mRNA export, mRNA turnover, and mRNA translation, are controlled by RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and noncoding (nc)RNAs. The vast family of ncRNAs comprises diverse regulatory RNAs, such as microRNAs and long noncoding (lnc)RNAs, but also the poorly explored class of circular (circ)RNAs. Although first discovered more than three decades ago by electron microscopy, only the advent of high-throughput RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) and the development of innovative bioinformatic pipelines have begun to allow the systematic identification of circRNAs (Szabo and Salzman, 2016; Panda et al., 2017b; Panda et al., 2017c). However, the validation of true circRNAs identified by RNA sequencing requires other molecular biology techniques including reverse transcription (RT) followed by conventional or quantitative (q) polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and Northern blot analysis (Jeck and Sharpless, 2014). RT-qPCR analysis of circular RNAs using divergent primers has been widely used for the detection, validation, and sometimes quantification of circRNAs (Abdelmohsen et al., 2015 and 2017; Panda et al., 2017b). As detailed here, divergent primers designed to span the circRNA backsplice junction sequence can specifically amplify the circRNAs and not the counterpart linear RNA. In sum, RT-PCR analysis using divergent primers allows direct detection and quantification of circRNAs.
0 Q&A 9273 Views Aug 20, 2017
Primary mammary tumor organoids grown in 3D are an excellent system to study tumor biology. They resemble the organization and physiology of native epithelia more closely than cancer cell lines grown in 2D, and additionally model interactions with the ECM (Boj et al., 2015; Clevers, 2016; Shamir and Ewald, 2014). Mammary tumor organoids are therefore a promising model system to identify and characterize novel drivers of breast cancer that would be unlikely to be identified using 2D cell lines. Antisense oligonucleotides can be used to efficiently and specifically knockdown target genes in the cell (Bennett et al., 2017). They can be taken up freely by organoids without the need for a transfection agent, making them a convenient tool for routine lab studies and screens.

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