Published: November 30th, 2018
Here, we present a protocol to produce large amounts of recombinant RNA in Escherichia coli by co-expressing a chimeric RNA that contains the RNA of interest in a viroid scaffold and a plant tRNA ligase. The main product is a circular molecule that facilitates purification to homogeneity.
With increasing interest in RNA biology and the use of RNA molecules in sophisticated biotechnological applications, the methods to produce large amounts of recombinant RNAs are limited. Here, we describe a protocol to produce large amounts of recombinant RNA in Escherichia coli based on co-expression of a chimeric molecule that contains the RNA of interest in a viroid scaffold and a plant tRNA ligase. Viroids are relatively small, non-coding, highly base-paired circular RNAs that are infectious to higher plants. The host plant tRNA ligase is an enzyme recruited by viroids that belong to the family Avsunviroidae, such as Eggplant latent viroid (ELVd), to mediate RNA circularization during viroid replication. Although ELVd does not replicate in E. coli, an ELVd precursor is efficiently transcribed by the E. coli RNA polymerase and processed by the embedded hammerhead ribozymes in bacterial cells, and the resulting monomers are circularized by the co-expressed tRNA ligase reaching a remarkable concentration. The insertion of an RNA of interest into the ELVd scaffold enables the production of tens of milligrams of the recombinant RNA per liter of bacterial culture in regular laboratory conditions. A main fraction of the RNA product is circular, a feature that facilitates the purification of the recombinant RNA to virtual homogeneity. In this protocol, a complementary DNA (cDNA) corresponding to the RNA of interest is inserted in a particular position of the ELVd cDNA in an expression plasmid that is used, along the plasmid to co-express eggplant tRNA ligase, to transform E. coli. Co-expression of both molecules under the control of strong constitutive promoters leads to production of large amounts of the recombinant RNA. The recombinant RNA can be extracted from the bacterial cells and separated from the bulk of bacterial RNAs taking advantage of its circularity.
In contrast to DNA and proteins, protocols for easy, efficient and cost-effective production of large amounts of RNA are not abundant. However, research and industry demand increasing amounts of these biomolecules to investigate their unique biological properties1, or to be employed in sophisticated biotechnological applications, including their use as highly specific aptamers2, therapeutic agents3, or selective pesticides4. In vitro transcription and chemical synthesis are commonly used in research to produce RNA. However, these methods entail important limitations when la....
1. Plasmid Construction
To produce recombinant RNA in E. coli using the ELVd-derived system12, the RNA of interest is grafted into an ELVd RNA scaffold. This chimeric RNA is co-expressed along the eggplant tRNA ligase in E. coli. Once processed, cleaved and circularized, the chimeric circular RNA, from which the RNA of interest protrudes, likely forms a ribonucleoprotein complex with the co-expressed eggplant enzyme that reaches remarkable concentration in the bacterial .......
While researching the ELVd sequence and structure requirements involved in the recognition by the eggplant tRNA ligase, we noticed that co-expression of both molecules in the non-host E. coli led to an unexpected large accumulation of viroid circular forms in bacterial cells19. We understood that the large accumulation of viroid RNA in E. coli most probably was the consequence of co-expressing a highly stable RNA molecule, such as the relatively small (333 nt), highly based-paire.......
|Phusion High-Fidelity DNA polymerase
|D1 low EEO
|Zymoclean Gel DNA Recovery
|NEBuilder HiFi DNA Assembly Master Mix
|New England BioLabs
|DNA Clean & Concentrator
|Escherichia coli DH5α
|Escherichia coli BL21(DE3)
|Escherichia coli HT115(DE3)
|Ref. Timmons et al., 2001
|Filtropur S 0.2
|HiTrap DEAE Sepharose FF column
|GE Healthcare Life Sciences
|ÄKTAprime plus liquid chromatography system
|GE Healthcare Life Sciences
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