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Nat Protoc. 2019 Jun 26. doi: 10.1038/s41596-019-0179-x. [Epub ahead of print]

Sequencing cell-type-specific transcriptomes with SLAM-ITseq.

Author information

1
Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
2
Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
3
Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge, UK.
4
Institute of Molecular Biotechnology, Vienna Biocenter Campus, Vienna, Austria.
5
Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna Biocenter Campus, Vienna, Austria.
6
Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. eam29@cam.ac.uk.
7
Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK. eam29@cam.ac.uk.
8
Wellcome Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge, UK. eam29@cam.ac.uk.

Abstract

Analysis of cell-type-specific transcriptomes is vital for understanding the biology of tissues and organs in the context of multicellular organisms. In this Protocol Extension, we combine a previously developed cell-type-specific metabolic RNA labeling method (thiouracil (TU) tagging) and a pipeline to detect the labeled transcripts by a novel RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) method, SLAMseq (thiol (SH)-linked alkylation for the metabolic sequencing of RNA). By injecting a uracil analog, 4-thiouracil, into transgenic mice that express cell-type-specific uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT), an enzyme required for 4-thiouracil incorporation into newly synthesized RNA, only cells expressing UPRT synthesize thiol-containing RNA. Total RNA isolated from a tissue of interest is then sequenced with SLAMseq, which introduces thymine to cytosine (T>C) conversions at the sites of the incorporated 4-thiouracil. The resulting sequencing reads are then mapped with the T>C-aware alignment software, SLAM-DUNK, which allows mapping of reads containing T>C mismatches. The number of T>C conversions per transcript is further analyzed to identify which transcripts are synthesized in the UPRT-expressing cells. Thus, our method, SLAM-ITseq (SLAMseq in tissue), enables cell-specific transcriptomics without laborious FACS-based cell sorting or biochemical isolation of the labeled transcripts used in TU tagging. In the murine tissues we assessed previously, this method identified ~5,000 genes that are expressed in a cell type of interest from the total RNA pool from the tissue. Any laboratory with access to a high-throughput sequencer and high-power computing can adapt this protocol with ease, and the entire pipeline can be completed in <5 d.

PMID:
31243395
DOI:
10.1038/s41596-019-0179-x

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