In vitro analysis of RNA degradation catalyzed by deadenylase enzymes

Joel Hrit, Nathan Raynard, Jamie Van Etten, Kamya Sankar, Adam Petterson, Aaron C. Goldstrohm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this chapter, we describe a method for purification and analysis of the enzymatic activity of deadenylase enzymes. Nearly all eukaryotic messenger RNAs are modified at the 3′ end by the addition of an adenosine polymer: the poly-adenosine tail. The poly(A) tail plays a central role in protein expression and mRNA fate. The poly(A) tail promotes translation of the mRNA. Shortening of the poly(A) tail, referred to as deadenylation, reduces protein synthesis and initiates destruction of the mRNA. A specialized class of exoribonucleases, called deadenylase enzymes, carries out this process. Deadenylases are found throughout eukarya, but their functions remain largely unexplored. We present a detailed protocol to analyze deadenylase activity in vitro. First, recombinant deadenylase enzyme is over-expressed and purified from bacteria. Next, labeled RNA substrate is prepared. Deadenylation reactions are performed, and reaction products are analyzed by denaturing gel electrophoresis. Reaction rates are then determined quantitatively. Crucial controls and experimental parameters are described along with practical tips that promote success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-339
Number of pages15
JournalMethods in Molecular Biology
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014.


  • Deadenylase
  • Exoribonuclease
  • Poly-adenosine tail
  • RNA degradation


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