Studying RNA Interactors of Protein Kinase RNA-Activated during the Mammalian Cell Cycle

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Protein kinase RNA-activated (PKR) is a member of the innate immune response proteins and recognizes the double-stranded secondary structure of viral RNAs. When bound to viral double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs), PKR undergoes dimerization and subsequent autophosphorylation. Phosphorylated PKR (pPKR) becomes active and induces phosphorylation of the alpha subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2 alpha) to suppress global translation. Increasing evidence suggests that PKR can be activated under physiological conditions such as during the cell cycle or under various stress conditions without infection. However, our understanding of the RNA activators of PKR is limited due to the lack of a standardized experimental method to capture and analyze PKR-interacting dsRNAs. Here, we present an experimental protocol to specifically enrich and analyze PKR bound RNAs during the cell cycle using HeLa cells. We utilize the efficient crosslinking activity of formaldehyde to fix PKR-RNA complexes and isolate them via immunoprecipitation. PKR co-immunoprecipitated RNAs can then be further processed to generate a high-throughput sequencing library. One major class of PKR-interacting cellular dsRNAs is mitochondrial RNAs (mtRNAs), which can exist as intermolecular dsRNAs through complementary interaction between the heavy-strand and the light-strand RNAs. To study the strandedness of these duplex mtRNAs, we also present a protocol for strand-specific qRT-PCR. Our protocol is optimized for the analysis of PKR-bound RNAs, but it can be easily modified to study cellular dsRNAs or RNA-interactors of other dsRNA binding proteins.
Publisher
JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS
Issue Date
2019-03
Language
English
Article Type
Article
Citation

JOVE-JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS, no.145

ISSN
1940-087X
DOI
10.3791/59215
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10203/261013
Appears in Collection
CBE-Journal Papers(저널논문)
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