COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Thurs., Oct. 1, 2009) - The study of RNA has long been the tool of choice for understanding where and when genes are expressed in a cell, tissue, or organism during development or under specific physiological or environmental conditions. Recent discoveries have revolutionized our concept of RNA function; it is now known to be active in a much wider set of biological processes than was previously believed. Techniques for isolating RNA and for uncovering its interactions with proteins have taken on new importance as many laboratories define the roles of specific RNAs in the cell. The October issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (www.cshprotocols.org/TOCs/toc10_09.dtl) features two articles detailing methods for RNA analysis in zebrafish and the worm C. elegans.
Quantitative Real-Time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) of Zebrafish Transcripts: Optimization of RNA Extraction, Quality Control Considerations and Data Analysis from Donald Love and colleagues at the University of Auckland (http://www.
RNA molecules interact with proteins to drive many cellular activities, including post-transcriptional processing of RNA, regulation of translation, and transport of RNA to name but a few. These ribonucleoprotein complexes are isolated by coimmunoprecipitation (co-IP), where a protein-specific antibody is used to purify the protein of choice and its associated complex members. Analysis of RNA-Protein Complexes by RNA Coimmunoprecipitation and RT-PCR Analysis from Caenorhabditis elegans gives step-by-step instructions for RNA co-IP from C. elegans whole-worm extracts. The protocol, from Christian Eckmann and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (http://www.
About Cold Spring Harbor Protocols: Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (www.cshprotocols.org) is a monthly peer-reviewed journal of methods used in a wide range of biology laboratories. It is structured to be highly interactive, with each protocol cross-linked to related methods, descriptive information panels, and illustrative material to maximize the total information available to investigators. Each protocol is clearly presented and designed for easy use at the bench--complete with reagents, equipment, and recipe lists. Life science researchers can access the entire collection via institutional site licenses, and can add their suggestions and comments to further refine the techniques.
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