Systems Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 525 Views Nov 20, 2023

Rapid development in single-cell chromosome conformation capture technologies has provided valuable insights into the importance of spatial genome architecture for gene regulation. However, a long-standing technical gap remains in the simultaneous characterization of three-dimensional genomes and transcriptomes in the same cell. We have described an assay named Hi-C and RNA-seq employed simultaneously (HiRES), which integrates in situ reverse transcription and chromosome conformation capture (3C) for the parallel analysis of chromatin organization and gene expression. Here, we provide a detailed implementation of the assay, using mouse embryos and cerebral cortices as examples. The versatility of this method extends beyond these two samples, with the potential to be used in various other cell types.

Key features

• A multi-omics sequencing approach to profile 3D genome structure and gene expression simultaneously in single cells.

• Compatible with animal tissues.

• One-tube amplification of both DNA and RNA components.

• Requires three days to complete.

Graphical overview

Schematic illustration for the Hi-C and RNA-seq employed simultaneously (HiRES) workflow
0 Q&A 402 Views Oct 5, 2023

Many single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified by genome-wide association studies exert their effects on disease risk as expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) via allele-specific expression (ASE). While databases for probing eQTLs in tissues from normal individuals exist, one may wish to ascertain eQTLs or ASE in specific tissues or disease-states not characterized in these databases. Here, we present a protocol to assess ASE of two possible target genes (GPNMB and KLHL7) of a known genome-wide association study (GWAS) Parkinson’s disease (PD) risk locus in postmortem human brain tissue from PD and neurologically normal individuals. This was done using a sequence of RNA isolation, cDNA library generation, enrichment for transcripts of interest using customizable cDNA capture probes, paired-end RNA sequencing, and subsequent analysis. This method provides increased sensitivity relative to traditional bulk RNAseq-based and a blueprint that can be extended to the study of other genes, tissues, and disease states.

Key features

• Analysis of GPNMB allele-specific expression (ASE) in brain lysates from cognitively normal controls (NC) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) individuals.

• Builds on the ASE protocol of Mayba et al. (2014) and extends application from cells to human tissue.

• Increased sensitivity by enrichment for desired transcript via RNA CaptureSeq (Mercer et al., 2014).

• Optimized for human brain lysates from cingulate gyrus, caudate nucleus, and cerebellum.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 1744 Views Jun 5, 2023

Individual nucleotide resolution UV cross-linking and immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (iCLIP-seq) is a powerful technique that is used to identify RNA-binding proteins’ (RBP) binding sites on target RNAs and to characterize the molecular basis of posttranscriptional regulatory pathways. Several variants of CLIP have been developed to improve its efficiency and simplify the protocol [e.g., iCLIP2 and enhanced CLIP (eCLIP)]. We have recently reported that transcription factor SP1 functions in the regulation of alternative cleavage and polyadenylation through direct RNA binding. We utilized a modified iCLIP method to identify RNA-binding sites for SP1 and several of the cleavage and polyadenylation complex subunits, including CFIm25, CPSF7, CPSF100, CPSF2, and Fip1. Our revised protocol takes advantage of several features of the eCLIP procedure and also improves on certain steps of the original iCLIP method, including optimization of circularization of cDNA. Herein, we describe a step-by-step procedure for our revised iCLIP-seq protocol, that we designate as iCLIP-1.5, and provide alternative approaches for certain difficult-to-CLIP proteins.

Key features

• Identification of RNA-binding sites of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) at nucleotide resolution.

• iCLIP-seq provides precise positional and quantitative information on the RNA-binding sites of RBPs in living cells.

• iCLIP facilitates the identification of sequence motifs recognized by RBPs.

• Allows quantitative analysis of genome-wide changes in protein-RNA interactions.

• Revised iCLIP-1.5 protocol is more efficient and highly robust; it provides higher coverage even for low-input samples.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 3007 Views Sep 20, 2021

Genome-wide sequencing of RNA (RNA-seq) has become an inexpensive tool to gain key insights into cellular and disease mechanisms. Sample preparation and sequencing are streamlined and allow the acquisition of hundreds of gene expression profiles in a few days; however, in particular, data processing, curation, and analysis involve numerous steps that can be overwhelming to non-experts. Here, the sample preparation, sequencing, and data processing workflow for RNA-seq expression analysis in yeast is described. While this protocol covers only a small portion of the RNA-seq landscape, the principal workflow common to such experiments is described, allowing the reader to adapt the protocol where necessary.

Graphic abstract:

Basic workflow of RNA-seq expression analysis.

0 Q&A 4295 Views Nov 5, 2020
Association mapping is the process of linking phenotypes with genotypes. In genome wide association studies (GWAS), individuals are first genotyped using microarrays or by aligning sequenced reads to reference genomes. However, both these approaches rely on reference genomes which limits their application to organisms with no or incomplete reference genomes. To address this, reference free association mapping methods have been developed. Here we present the protocol of an alignment free method for association studies which is based on counting k-mers in sequenced reads, testing for associations between k-mers and the phenotype of interest, and local assembly of the k-mers of statistical significance. The method can map associations of categorical phenotypes to sequence and structural variations without requiring prior sequencing of reference genomes.
0 Q&A 5137 Views Sep 20, 2020
Gene transcription in bacteria often starts some nucleotides upstream of the start codon. Identifying the specific Transcriptional Start Site (TSS) is essential for genetic manipulation, as in many cases upstream of the start codon there are sequence elements that are involved in gene expression regulation. Taken into account the classical gene structure, we are able to identify two kinds of transcriptional start site: primary and secondary. A primary transcriptional start site is located some nucleotides upstream of the translational start site, while a secondary transcriptional start site is located within the gene encoding sequence.

Here, we present a step by step protocol for genome-wide transcriptional start sites determination by differential RNA-sequencing (dRNA-seq) using the enteric pathogen Shigella flexneri serotype 5a strain M90T as model. However, this method can be employed in any other bacterial species of choice. In the first steps, total RNA is purified from bacterial cultures using the hot phenol method. Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) is specifically depleted via hybridization probes using a commercial kit. A 5′-monophosphate-dependent exonuclease (TEX)-treated RNA library enriched in primary transcripts is then prepared for comparison with a library that has not undergone TEX-treatment, followed by ligation of an RNA linker adaptor of known sequence allowing the determination of TSS with single nucleotide precision. Finally, the RNA is processed for Illumina sequencing library preparation and sequenced as purchased service. TSS are identified by in-house bioinformatic analysis.

Our protocol is cost-effective as it minimizes the use of commercial kits and employs freely available software.
0 Q&A 16020 Views Jun 20, 2018
Plant roots associate with a wide diversity of bacteria and archaea across the root-soil spectrum. The rhizosphere microbiota, the communities of microbes in the soil adjacent to the root, can contain up to 10 billion bacterial cells per gram of soil (Raynaud and Nunan, 2014) and can play important roles for the fitness of the host plant. Subsets of the rhizospheric microbiota can colonize the root surface (rhizoplane) and the root interior (endosphere), forming an intimate relationship with the host plant. Compositional analysis of these communities is important to develop tools in order to manipulate root-associated microbiota for increased crop productivity. Due to the reduced cost and increasing throughput of next-generation sequencing, major advances in deciphering these communities have recently been achieved, mainly through the use of amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Here we first present a protocol for dissecting the microbiota from various root compartments, developed using rice as a model. We next present a method for amplifying fragments of the 16S rRNA gene using a dual index approach. Finally, we present a simple workflow for analyzing the resulting sequencing data to make ecological inferences.
0 Q&A 9453 Views Dec 5, 2017
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) offers unparalleled resolution for untargeted organism detection and characterization. However, the majority of NGS analysis programs require users to be proficient in programming and command-line interfaces. EDGE bioinformatics was developed to offer scientists with little to no bioinformatics expertise a point-and-click platform for analyzing sequencing data in a rapid and reproducible manner. EDGE (Empowering the Development of Genomics Expertise) v1.0 released in January 2017, is an intuitive web-based bioinformatics platform engineered for the analysis of microbial and metagenomic NGS-based data (Li et al., 2017). The EDGE bioinformatics suite combines vetted publicly available tools, and tracks settings to ensure reliable and reproducible analysis workflows. To execute the EDGE workflow, only raw sequencing reads and a project ID are necessary. Users can access in-house data, or run analyses on samples deposited in Sequence Read Archive. Default settings offer a robust first-glance and are often sufficient for novice users. All analyses are modular; users can easily turn workflows on/off, and modify parameters to cater to project needs. Results are compiled and available for download in a PDF-formatted report containing publication quality figures. We caution that interpreting results still requires in-depth scientific understanding, however report visuals are often informative, even to novice users.
0 Q&A 9495 Views May 20, 2017
While the diversity of species represents a diversity of special biological abilities, many of the genes that encode those special abilities in a variety of species are untouched, leaving an untapped gold mine of genetic information; however, despite current advances in genome bioinformatics, annotation of that genetic information is incomplete in most species, except for well-established model organisms, such as human, mouse, or yeast. A guide RNA (gRNA) library using the clustered regularly interspersed palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9) system can be used for the phenotypic screening of uncharacterized genes by forward genetics. The construction of a gRNA library usually requires an abundance of chemically synthesized oligos designed from annotated genes; if one wants to convert mRNA into gRNA without prior knowledge of the target DNA sequences, the major challenges are finding the sequences flanking the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) and cutting out the 20-bp fragment. Recently, I developed a molecular biology-based technique to convert mRNA into a gRNA library (Arakawa, 2016) (Figure 1). Here I describe the detailed protocol of how to construct a gRNA library from mRNA.

Figure 1. A method to convert mRNA into a gRNA library construction (Sanjana et al., 2014). The scheme of the method is summarized. Each step of D-O is described in detail in the Procedure. Bg, BglII; Xb, XbaI; Bs, BsmBI; Aa, AatII. PCR, polymerase chain reaction; lentiCRISPR v2, lentiCRISPR version 2.
0 Q&A 9693 Views Mar 5, 2017
Herein we describe a detailed protocol for DNA virome analysis of low input human stool samples (Monaco et al., 2016). This protocol is divided into four main steps: 1) stool samples are pulverized to evenly distribute microbial matter; 2) stool is enriched for virus-like particles and DNA is extracted by phenol-chloroform; 3) purified DNA is multiple-strand displacement amplified (MDA) and fragmented; and 4) libraries are constructed and sequenced using Illumina Miseq. Subsequent sequence analysis for viral sequence identification should be sensitive but stringent.

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By using our website, you are agreeing to allow the storage of cookies on your computer.