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RNA Sequencing by Direct Tagmentation of RNA/DNA Hybrids

By Lin Di, Yusi Fu, Yue Sun, Jie Li, Lu Liu, Jiacheng Yao, Guanbo Wang, Yalei Wu, Kaiqin Lao, Raymond W Lee, Genhua Zheng, Jun Xu, Juntaek Oh, Dong Wang, X. Sunney Xie, Yanyi Huang, Jianbin Wang

Posted 15 Nov 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/843474 (published DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1919800117)

Transcriptome profiling by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) has been widely used to characterize cellular status but it relies on second strand cDNA synthesis to generate initial material for library preparation. Here we use bacterial transposase Tn5, which has been increasingly used in various high-throughput DNA analyses, to construct RNA-seq libraries without second strand synthesis. We show that Tn5 transposome can randomly bind RNA/DNA heteroduplexes and add sequencing adapters onto RNA directly after reverse transcription. This method, Sequencing HEteRo RNA-DNA-hYbrid (SHERRY), is versatile and scalable. SHERRY accepts a wide range of starting materials, from bulk RNA to single cells. SHERRY offers a greatly simplified protocol, and produces results with higher reproducibility and GC uniformity compared with prevailing RNA-seq methods. Significance Statement RNA sequencing is widely used to measure gene expression in biomedical research; therefore, improvements in the simplicity and accuracy of the technology are desirable. All existing RNA sequencing methods rely on the conversion of RNA into double-stranded DNA through reverse transcription followed by second strand synthesis. The latter step requires additional enzymes and purification, and introduces sequence-dependent bias. Here, we show that Tn5 transposase, which randomly binds and cuts double-stranded DNA, can directly fragment and prime the RNA/DNA heteroduplexes generated by reverse transcription. The primed fragments are then subject to PCR amplification. This provides a new approach for simple and accurate RNA characterization and quantification.

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