Detecting RNA-RNA interactions using psoralen derivatives.

Research paper by Timothy W TW Nilsen

Indexed on: 04 Sep '14Published on: 04 Sep '14Published in: Cold Spring Harbor protocols


Psoralens are tricyclic compounds that intercalate into double-stranded DNA or RNA and, on irradiation with long-wavelength (365-nm) UV light, covalently link pyrimidines on adjacent strands. More rarely, psoralen cross-links can be observed at the ends of helices (i.e., double-stranded-single-stranded boundaries). Although psoralens can, in some instances, cross-link protein to RNA, their primary application is to detect RNA-RNA base-pairing interactions. The most useful psoralen derivative is 4'-aminomethyl trioxsalen (AMT), which is soluble in H2O. This protocol describes the use of AMT to detect RNA-RNA interactions in tissue culture cells or in extracts. Cross-linked RNAs are detectable by their reduced mobility in polyacrylamide gels. Cross-links can be reversed by exposure to short-wavelength (254 nm) UV light.