MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are ~22-nucleotide-long small non-coding RNAs that regulate the expression of protein-coding genes by base pairing to partially complementary target sites, preferentially located in the 3´ untranslated region (UTR) of target mRNAs. The expression and function of miRNAs have been extensively studied in human disease, as well as the possibility of using these molecules as biomarkers for prognostication and treatment guidance. To identify and validate miRNAs as biomarkers, their expression must be screened in large collections of patient samples.
Researchers at the Lund University Cancer Center have developed a scalable protocol for the rapid and economical preparation of a large number of small RNA sequencing libraries using dual indexing for multiplexing. Combined with the use of off-the-shelf reagents, more samples can be sequenced simultaneously on large-scale sequencing platforms at a considerably lower cost per sample. Sample preparation is simplified by pooling libraries prior to gel purification, which allows for the selection of a narrow size range while minimizing sample variation. A comparison with publicly available data from benchmarking of miRNA analysis platforms showed that this method captures absolute and differential expression as effectively as commercially available alternatives.
Overview of the library preparation protocol for small RNA sequencing using dual indexing and sample pooling prior to size selection by gel purification.