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Click RNA for Rapid Capture and Identification of Intracellular MicroRNA Targets

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journal contribution
posted on 22.11.2019, 21:07 by Pengjuan Zhang, Haohao Fu, Shuangli Du, Fengchao Wang, Jie Yang, Wensheng Cai, Dingbin Liu
Rapid capture and identification of the intracellular target genes of microRNAs (miRNAs) are the key to understanding miRNA functions and development of RNA-based therapeutics. However, developing biochemical tools that can fish out the target genes of miRNAs in live cells is a significant technical challenge. Here, we report a remarkably simple yet powerful technology capable of loading virtually any miRNA into Ago2 of the RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISCs). This surprising discovery enables rapid capture and identification of target mRNAs and long noncoding RNAs. It is achieved by linking dibenzocyclooctyne (DBCO), a classical chemical moiety in copper-free click chemistry, to the 3′ end of miRNAs. DBCO serves as a high-affinity tag to the Ago2 protein, thus boosting the formation of RISCs with miRNA target genes in living cells. Upon cell lysing, DBCO’s routine function in click chemistry allows rapid enrichment of target genes for analysis without the need of additional molecular handles. A series of miR-21 and miR-27a target genes that were previously unknown were pulled down from various cell lines and identified with qRT-PCR, demonstrating the utility of this innovative technology in both transcriptomic research and RNA-based studies.