Combined Nucleotide and Protein Extractions in Caenorhabditis elegans

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


A single biological sample holds a plethora of information, and it is now common practice to simultaneously investigate several macromolecules to capture a full picture of the multiple levels of molecular processing and changes between different conditions. This protocol presents the method of isolating DNA, RNA, and protein from the same sample of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to remove the variation introduced when these biomolecules are isolated from replicates of similarly treated but ultimately different samples. Nucleic acids and protein are extracted from the nematode using the acid guanidinium thiocyanate-phenol-chloroform extraction method, with subsequent precipitation, washing, and solubilization of each. We show the successful isolation of RNA, DNA, and protein from a single sample from three strains of nematode and HeLa cells, with better protein isolation results in adult animals. Additionally, guanidinium thiocyanate-phenol-chloroform-extracted protein from nematodes improves the resolution of larger proteins, with enhanced detectable levels as observed by immunoblotting, compared to the traditional RIPA extraction of protein.

The method presented here is useful when investigating samples using a multiomic approach, specifically for the exploration of the proteome and transcriptome. Techniques that simultaneously assess multiomics are appealing because molecular signaling underlying complex biological phenomena is thought to occur at complementary levels; however, it has become increasingly common to see that changes in mRNA levels do not always reflect the same change in protein levels and that the time of collection is relevant in the context of circadian regulations. This method removes any intersample variation when assaying different contents within the same sample (intrasample.)