Signe Olivarius:
Methods for RNA analysis - Functional investigation of RNA by interaction proteomics and high-throughput transcription start site assessment

Date: 17-02-2014    Supervisor: Jan Christiansen & Jeppe Vinther

While increasing evidence appoints diverse types of RNA as key players in the regulatory networks underlying cellular differentiation and metabolism, the potential functions of thousands of conserved RNA structures encoded in mammalian genomes remain to be determined. Since the functions of most RNAs rely on interactions with proteins, the establishment of protein-binding profiles is essential for the characterization of RNAs. Aiming to facilitate RNA analysis, this thesis introduces proteomics- as well as transcriptomics-based methods for the functional characterization of RNA. First, RNA-protein pulldown combined with mass spectrometry analysis is applied for in vivo as well as in vitro identification of RNA-binding proteins, the latter succeeding in verifying known RNA-protein interactions. Secondly, acknowledging the significance of flexible promoter usage for the diversification of the transcriptome, 5’ end capture of RNA is combined with next-generation sequencing for high-throughput quantitative assessment of transcription start sites by two different methods. The methods presented here allow for functional investigation of coding as well as noncoding RNA and contribute to future illumination of the diverse roles and significance of RNA.