Repurposing Ribo-Seq to provide insights into structured RNAs

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
B. J. Fremin, Ami S Bhatt


Ribosome profiling (Ribo-Seq) is a powerful method to study translation in bacteria. However, this method can enrich RNAs that are not bound by ribosomes, but rather, are protected from degradation in another way. For example, Escherichia coli Ribo-Seq libraries also capture reads from most non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). These fragments of ncRNAs pass all size selection steps of the Ribo-Seq protocol and survive hours of MNase treatment, presumably without protection from the ribosome or other macromolecules or proteins. Since bacterial ribosome profiling does not directly isolate ribosomes, but instead uses broad size range cutoffs to fractionate actively translated RNAs, it is understandable that some ncRNAs are retained after size selection. However, how these 'contaminants' survive MNase treatment is unclear. Through analyzing metaRibo-Seq reads across a well established structured RNA in E. coli, and structured direct repeats from Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) arrays in Ruminococcus lactaris, we observed that these RNAs are protected from MNase treatment by virtue of their secondary structure. Therefore, large volumes of data previously discarded as contaminants in bacterial Ribo-Seq experim...Continue Reading

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