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Anti-Argonaute RIP-Chip shows that miRNA transfections alter global patterns of mRNA recruitment to microribonucleoprotein complexes.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play key roles in gene expression regulation by guiding Argonaute (AGO)-containing microribonucleoprotein (miRNP) effector complexes to target polynucleotides. There are still uncertainties about how miRNAs interact with mRNAs. Here we employed a biochemical approach to isolate AGO-containing miRNPs from human H4 tumor cells by co-immunoprecipitation (co-IP) with a previously described anti-AGO antibody. Co-immunoprecipitated (co-IPed) RNAs were subjected to downstream Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST microarray analysis. During rigorous validation, the "RIP-Chip" assay identified target mRNAs specifically associated with AGO complexes. RIP-Chip was performed after transfecting brain-enriched miRNAs (miR-107, miR-124, miR-128, and miR-320) and nonphysiologic control miRNA to identify miRNA targets. As expected, the miRNA transfections altered the mRNA content of the miRNPs. Specific mRNA species recruited to miRNPs after miRNA transfections were moderately in agreement with computational target predictions. In addition to recruiting mRNA targets into miRNPs, miR-107 and to a lesser extent miR-128, but not miR-124 or miR-320, caused apparent exclusion of some mRNAs that are normally associated with miRNPs. MiR-107 and miR-128 transfections also result in decreased AGO mRNA and protein levels. However, AGO mRNAs were not recruited to miRNPs after either miR-107 or miR-128 transfection, confirming that miRNAs may alter gene expression without stable association between particular mRNAs and miRNPs. In summary, RIP-Chip assays constitute an optimized, validated, direct, and high-throughput biochemical assay that provides data about specific miRNA:mRNA interactions, as well as global patterns of regulation by miRNAs.

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Detection of the argonaute protein Ago2 and microRNAs in the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC) using a monoclonal antibody.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short RNA molecules responsible for post-transcriptional gene silencing by the degradation or translational inhibition of their target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). This process of gene silencing, known as RNA interference (RNAi), is mediated by highly conserved Argonaute (Ago) proteins which are the key components of the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC). In humans, Ago2 is responsible for the endonuclease cleavage of targeted mRNA and it interacts with the mRNA-binding protein GW182, which is a marker for cytoplasmic foci referred to as GW bodies (GWBs). We demonstrated that the anti-Ago2 monoclonal antibody 4F9 recognized GWBs in a cell cycle dependent manner and was capable of capturing miRNAs associated with Ago2. Since Ago2 protein is the effector protein of RNAi, anti-Ago2 monoclonal antibody may be useful in capturing functional miRNAs.

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