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Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Apr;42(8):e70. doi: 10.1093/nar/gku167. Epub 2014 Feb 24.

Massive parallel-sequencing-based hydroxyl radical probing of RNA accessibility.

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Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.


Hydroxyl Radical Footprinting (HRF) is a tried-and-tested method for analysis of the tertiary structure of RNA and for identification of protein footprints on RNA. The hydroxyl radical reaction breaks accessible parts of the RNA backbone, thereby allowing ribose accessibility to be determined by detection of reverse transcriptase termination sites. Current methods for HRF rely on reverse transcription of a single primer and detection by fluorescent fragments by capillary electrophoresis. Here, we describe an accurate and efficient massive parallel-sequencing-based method for probing RNA accessibility with hydroxyl radicals, called HRF-Seq. Using random priming and a novel barcoding scheme, we show that HRF-Seq dramatically increases the throughput of HRF experiments and facilitates the parallel analysis of multiple RNAs or experimental conditions. Moreover, we demonstrate that HRF-Seq data for the Escherichia coli 16S rRNA correlates well with the ribose accessible surface area as determined by X-ray crystallography and have a resolution that readily allows the difference in accessibility caused by exposure of one side of RNA helices to be observed.

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