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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Apr 10;104(15):6164-9. Epub 2007 Apr 3.

Microarray analysis of newly synthesized RNA in cells and animals.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology of the Cell I, German Cancer Research Center, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Current methods to analyze gene expression measure steady-state levels of mRNA. To specifically analyze mRNA transcription, we have developed a technique that can be applied in vivo in intact cells and animals. Our method makes use of the cellular pyrimidine salvage pathway and is based on affinity-chromatographic isolation of thiolated mRNA. When combined with data on mRNA steady-state levels, this method is able to assess the relative contributions of mRNA synthesis and degradation/stabilization. It overcomes limitations associated with currently available methods such as mechanistic intervention that disrupts cellular physiology, or the inability to apply the techniques in vivo. Our method was first tested in serum response of cultured fibroblast cells and then applied to the study of renal ischemia reperfusion injury, demonstrating its applicability for whole organs in vivo. Combined with data on mRNA steady-state levels, this method provided a detailed analysis of regulatory mechanisms of mRNA expression and the relative contributions of RNA synthesis and turnover within distinct pathways, and identification of genes expressed at low abundance at the transcriptional level.

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