A new technique to express large amounts of structured RNA in cells, allowing a thorough study of its function, is presented online on Nature Methods.
RNA is so much more than just the messenger between DNA and protein; RNA molecules also regulate transcription, have a role in controlling translation, and act as enzymes. But to investigate RNA's structure and function in detail one needs large quantities of pure RNA species, which are difficult to obtain with current in vitro synthesis methods. Frédéric Dardel and colleagues have now devised a technique that facilitates the production of large amounts of correctly folded RNA inside a cell.
The key aspect of the method is the incorporation of the RNA of interest into the scaffold of a cell's own highly structured RNA molecule -- thereby tricking the cell into thinking the foreign RNA is part of its own RNA molecule and consequently protecting it from intracellular digestion. Once this recombinant RNA is generated one can easily purify it, and separate the foreign RNA from the scaffold for further analysis of its structure and function.
Frédéric Dardel (Université Paris Descartes, France)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Methods press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza