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MS2-Affinity Purification Coupled with RNA Sequencing in Gram-Positive Bacteria

Noémie Mercier1, Karine Prévost2, Eric Massé2, Pascale Romby1, Isabelle Caldelari1, David Lalaouna1


Although small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) are widespread among the bacterial domain of life, the functions of many of them remain poorly characterized notably due to the difficulty of identifying their mRNA targets. Here, we described a modified protocol of the MS2-Affinity Purification coupled with RNA Sequencing (MAPS) technology, aiming to reveal all RNA partners of a specific sRNA in vivo. Broadly, the MS2 aptamer is fused to the 5’ extremity of the sRNA of interest. This construct is then expressed in vivo, allowing the MS2-sRNA to interact with its cellular partners. After bacterial harvesting, cells are mechanically lysed. The crude extract is loaded into an amylose-based chromatography column previously coated with the MS2 protein fused to the maltose binding protein. This enables the specific capture of MS2-sRNA and interacting RNAs. After elution, co-purified RNAs are identified by high-throughput RNA sequencing and subsequent bioinformatic analysis. The following protocol has been implemented in the Gram-positive human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus and is, in principle, transposable to any Gram-positive bacteria. To sum up, MAPS technology constitutes an efficient method to deeply explore the regulatory network of a particular sRNA, offering a snapshot of its whole targetome. However, it is important to keep in mind that putative targets identified by MAPS still need to be validated by complementary experimental approaches.

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