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Mol Syst Biol. 2019 Apr 8;15(4):e8689. doi: 10.15252/msb.20188689.

Defining the RNA interactome by total RNA-associated protein purification.

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Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
Bioanalytics, Institute of Biotechnology, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK


The RNA binding proteome (RBPome) was previously investigated using UV crosslinking and purification of poly(A)-associated proteins. However, most cellular transcripts are not polyadenylated. We therefore developed total RNA-associated protein purification (TRAPP) based on 254 nm UV crosslinking and purification of all RNA-protein complexes using silica beads. In a variant approach (PAR-TRAPP), RNAs were labelled with 4-thiouracil prior to 350 nm crosslinking. PAR-TRAPP in yeast identified hundreds of RNA binding proteins, strongly enriched for canonical RBPs. In comparison, TRAPP identified many more proteins not expected to bind RNA, and this correlated strongly with protein abundance. Comparing TRAPP in yeast and E. coli showed apparent conservation of RNA binding by metabolic enzymes. Illustrating the value of total RBP purification, we discovered that the glycolytic enzyme enolase interacts with tRNAs. Exploiting PAR-TRAPP to determine the effects of brief exposure to weak acid stress revealed specific changes in late 60S ribosome biogenesis. Furthermore, we identified the precise sites of crosslinking for hundreds of RNA-peptide conjugates, using iTRAPP, providing insights into potential regulation. We conclude that TRAPP is a widely applicable tool for RBPome characterization.


RNA binding sites; mass spectrometry; phase separation; protein–RNA interaction; yeast

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