Quantification of microRNA Expression with Next‐Generation Sequencing

Seda Eminaga1, Danos C. Christodoulou1, Francois Vigneault1, George M. Church2, J.G. Seidman3

1 These authors contributed equally to this work, 2 Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Boston, Massachusetts, 3 Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Molecular Biology
Unit Number:  Unit 4.17
DOI:  10.1002/0471142727.mb0417s103
Online Posting Date:  July, 2013
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Rapid advancement of next‐generation sequencing technologies has made it possible to study expression profiles of microRNAs (miRNAs) comprehensively and efficiently. Multiplexing miRNA libraries by barcoding can significantly reduce sequencing cost per sample without compromising library quality. This unit provides a step‐by‐step protocol for isolating miRNAs and constructing multiplexed miRNA libraries. Also described is a custom computational pipeline for analyzing the multiplexed miRNA library sequencing reads generated by Illumina‐based technology. Curr. Protoc. Mol. Biol. 103:4.17.1–4.17.14. © 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: miRNA; sequencing; multiplex; barcode; bioinformatics analysis

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Basic Protocol 1: Isolation of Total RNA Containing miRNAs
  • Basic Protocol 2: Construction of a Multiplex miRNA Library for Illumina Sequencing
  • Basic Protocol 3: Bioinformatic Analysis of Multiplexed miRNA Library Sequencing Data
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
  • Tables
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Basic Protocol 1: Isolation of Total RNA Containing miRNAs

  • Tissue of interest, fresh or stored in RNAlater (Qiagen, cat. no. 76106)
  • Trizol (Life Technologies, cat. no. 15596‐026)
  • miRVana miRNA isolation kit (Ambion, cat. no. AM1560)
  • Bioanalyzer 2100 (Agilent) with nano or pico chip
NOTE: To prevent RNase contamination, clean all equipment and the benchtop with RNase Zap (Ambion, cat. no AM9780) before starting the isolation. Use only RNase‐free tubes and micropipet tips, and change gloves frequently.

Basic Protocol 2: Construction of a Multiplex miRNA Library for Illumina Sequencing

  • Starting RNA (see protocol 1; RIN ≥8)
  • Nuclease‐free water (Ambion, AM9937)
  • 200 U/µl T4 RNA Ligase 2 Truncated (2tr) and 10× buffer (Enzymatics, L6070L)
  • 10 µM 3′ rApp‐adapter (Table 4.17.1)
  • Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO; Sigma, D9170)
  • 40 U/µl RNase inhibitor (Enzymatics, Y9240L)
  • 10 µM RT primer (see Table 4.17.1)
  • 10 µM 5′ RNA adapter (see Table 4.17.1)
  • 10 mM ATP (Enzymatics, N207‐10‐L)
  • 20 U/µl T4 RNA Ligase 1 (Enzymatics, L605L)
  • Superscript III First‐Strand Synthesis System (Invitrogen, 18080‐051), including 5× first‐strand buffer, 100 mM DTT, and 200 U/µl Superscript III
  • 12.5 and 25 mM dNTPs (Enzymatics, N2050L)
  • 2 U/µl Phusion High‐Fidelity DNA Polymerase with 5× buffer (NEB, M0530S)
  • PCR primers: 25 µM BCmiRNA_PCR1 and BCmiRNA_PCR2_BC* (Table 4.17.1)
  • Agencourt AMPure XP 5‐ml Kit (Beckman Coulter Genomics, A63880)
  • 70% (v/v) ethanol
  • 25‐ and 100‐bp RNA ladders (Invitrogen, 10597‐011 and 15628‐019)
  • E‐Gel EX Gel, 2% (Invitrogen, G4020‐02)
  • MinElute Reaction Cleanup Kit (Qiagen, 28204)
  • Agilent High‐Sensitivity DNA Kit (Agilent, 5067‐4626)
  • 200‐µl PCR tubes
  • Thermal cycler (for all incubations)
  • 1.5‐ml microcentrifuge tubes
  • Dynamag‐2 Magnet (Invitrogen, 123‐21D)
  • E‐Gel I‐Base Power System (Invitrogen, G6400)
  • E‐Gel Safe Imager Real‐Time Transilluminator (Invitrogen, G6500)
  • Razor blade
  • Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer
    Table 4.7.1   Materials   Oligos for Multiplexed miRNA Library Preparation for Illumina Sequencing a   Oligos for Multiplexed miRNA Library Preparation for Illumina Sequencing

    Oligo name b Sequence (5′‐3′) c
    BCPCR_5′RNA‐adapter rUrCrCrCrUrArCrArCrGrArCrGrCrUrCrUrUrCrCrGrArUrCrUrC
    BC_Custom_Indexing (optional) ACGGGCTAATATTTATCGGTGGAGC

     aAll oligonucleotides can be ordered through Integrated DNA Technologies (http://www.idtdna.com) and should be ordered with HPLC purification. For a less costly option, the adenylated adapter can be made as described by Vigneault et al. ( ).
     bOligos from Alon et al. ( ).
     cBold, underlined bases represent 6‐nt barcodes.
NOTE: Clean all surfaces and instruments with RNase Zap (Ambion, AM9780) before beginning the protocol, and maintain RNase‐free conditions throughout the protocol.
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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