Indexed on: 30 Oct '13Published on: 30 Oct '13Published in: Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
In animals, the Microprocessor complex cleaves primary transcripts of microRNAs (pri-miRNAs) to produce precursor microRNAs in the nucleus. The core components of Microprocessor include the Drosha ribonuclease and its RNA-binding partner protein DiGeorge critical region 8 (DGCR8). DGCR8 has been shown to tightly bind an Fe(III) heme cofactor, which activates its pri-miRNA processing activity. Here we describe how to reconstitute pri-miRNA processing using recombinant human Drosha and DGCR8 proteins. In particular, we present the procedures for expressing and purifying DGCR8 as an Fe(III) heme-bound dimer, the most active form of this protein, and for estimating its heme content.