BC Cancer Agency researchers increase quality, throughput and speed of sample preparation for strand-specific messenger RNA sequencing

RNA-Sequencing (RNA-seq) is now commonly used to reveal quantitative spatiotemporal snapshots of the transcriptome, the structures of transcripts (splice variants and fusions) and landscapes of expressed mutations. However, standard approaches for library construction typically require relatively high amounts of input RNA, are labor intensive, and are time consuming.

Here, researchers from the BC Cancer Agency report the outcome of a systematic effort to optimize and streamline steps in strand-specific RNA-seq library construction. This work has resulted in the identification of an optimized messenger RNA isolation protocol, a potent reverse transcriptase for cDNA synthesis, and an efficient chemistry and a simplified formulation of library construction reagents. We also present an optimization of bead-based purification and size selection designed to maximize the recovery of cDNA fragments.

Workflow of ssRNA-seq pipeline at the researchers facility


On the left is the previous version of our pipeline and the on the right is the new version. Red font denotes steps which are removed in the new version and blue font represents process or reagent modifications

These developments have allowed us to assemble a rapid high throughput pipeline that produces high quality data from amounts of total RNA as low as 25 ng. While the focus of this study is on RNA-seq sample preparation, some of these developments are also relevant to other next-generation sequencing library types.

Haile S et al. (2017) Increasing quality, throughput and speed of sample preparation for strand-specific messenger RNA sequencing. BMC Genomics 18:515. [article]

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