RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) control many types of post-transcriptional regulation, including mRNA splicing, mRNA stability, and translational efficiency, by directly binding to their target RNAs and their mutation and dysfunction are often associated with several human neurological diseases and tumorigenesis. Crosslinking immunoprecipitation (CLIP), coupled with high-throughput sequencing (HITS-CLIP), is a powerful technique for investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying disease pathogenesis by comprehensive identification of RBP target sequences at the transcriptome level. However, HITS-CLIP protocol is still required for some optimization due to experimental complication, low efficiency and time-consuming, whose library has to be generated from very small amounts of RNAs. Here we improved a more efficient, rapid, and reproducible CLIP method by optimizing BrdU-CLIP. Our protocol produced a 10-fold greater yield of pre-amplified CLIP library, which resulted in a low duplicate rate of CLIP-tag reads because the number of PCR cycles required for library amplification was reduced. Variance of the yields was also reduced, and the experimental period was shortened by 2 days. Using this, we validated IL-6 expression by a nuclear RBP, HNRNPU, which directly binds the 3’-UTR of IL-6 mRNA in HeLa cells. Importantly, this interaction was only observed in the cytoplasmic fraction, suggesting a role of cytoplasmic HNRNPU in mRNA stability control. This optimized method enables us to accurately identify target genes and provides a snapshot of the protein-RNA interactions of nucleocytoplasmic shuttling RBPs.
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