RNA-Protein Complexes and Interactions

Volume 1421 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology pp 137-151


Genome-Wide Profiling of RNA–Protein Interactions Using CLIP-Seq

  • Cheryl StorkAffiliated withDivision of Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California at Riverside
  • , Sika ZhengAffiliated withDivision of Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of California at Riverside Email author 

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UV crosslinking immunoprecipitation (CLIP) is an increasingly popular technique to study protein–RNA interactions in tissues and cells. Whole cells or tissues are ultraviolet irradiated to generate a covalent bond between RNA and proteins that are in close contact. After partial RNase digestion, antibodies specific to an RNA binding protein (RBP) or a protein-epitope tag is then used to immunoprecipitate the protein–RNA complexes. After stringent washing and gel separation the RBP–RNA complex is excised. The RBP is protease digested to allow purification of the bound RNA. Reverse transcription of the RNA followed by high-throughput sequencing of the cDNA library is now often used to identify protein bound RNA on a genome-wide scale. UV irradiation can result in cDNA truncations and/or mutations at the crosslink sites, which complicates the alignment of the sequencing library to the reference genome and the identification of the crosslinking sites. Meanwhile, one or more amino acids of a crosslinked RBP can remain attached to its bound RNA due to incomplete digestion of the protein. As a result, reverse transcriptase may not read through the crosslink sites, and produce cDNA ending at the crosslinked nucleotide. This is harnessed by one variant of CLIP methods to identify crosslinking sites at a nucleotide resolution. This method, individual nucleotide resolution CLIP (iCLIP) circularizes cDNA to capture the truncated cDNA and also increases the efficiency of ligating sequencing adapters to the library. Here, we describe the detailed procedure of iCLIP.

Key words

UV crosslinking immunoprecipitation RNA binding proteins Immunoprecipitation RBP–RNA complex iCLIP