Recognizing RNA

Credit: Courtesy of Phillip Zamore, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Science." /> Credit: Courtesy of Phillip Zamore, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Science. Researcher: Phillip Zamore, Gretchen Stone Cook Professor of Biomedical Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester Project:

Jeffrey M. Perkel
Aug 1, 2008
<figcaption> Credit: Courtesy of Phillip Zamore, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Science.</figcaption>
Credit: Courtesy of Phillip Zamore, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Science.

Researcher:

Phillip Zamore, Gretchen Stone Cook Professor of Biomedical Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester

Project:

Looking for endogenous small-interfering RNAs in flies, changes in which could influence gene expression.

Problem:

How do you distinguish siRNAs from microRNAs, which are roughly the same size?

Solution:

Zamore used both Solexa and 454 technologies to sequence short, noncoding RNAs from 5,000 fly heads. How do you isolate fly heads? Freeze the flies in liquid nitrogen and sift them with a flour sifter. To remove microRNAs from the equation, he took advantage of a chemical difference between the two molecules.

MicroRNAs typically associate with Argonaute-1, while siRNAs associate with Argonaute-2. Ago-2 recruits a methyltransferase, which adds a methyl group to the 2'-OH on the 3'-end...