UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Argonaute Proteins; Base Pairing; Blotting, Northern; Drosophila; Drosophila Proteins; Mass Spectrometry; Mice; MicroRNAs; RNA Interference; RNA, Complementary; RNA, Guide; RNA, Small Interfering; RNA-Induced Silencing Complex; Sensitivity and Specificity; Time Factors


Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) direct Argonaute proteins, the core components of the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), to cleave complementary target RNAs. Here, we describe a method to purify active RISC containing a single, unique small RNA guide sequence. We begin by capturing RISC using a complementary 2'-O-methyl oligonucleotide tethered to beads. Unlike other methods that capture RISC but do not allow its recovery, our strategy purifies active, soluble RISC in good yield. The method takes advantage of the finding that RISC partially paired to a target through its siRNA guide dissociates more than 300 times faster than a fully paired siRNA in RISC. We use this strategy to purify fly Ago1- and Ago2-RISC, as well as mouse AGO2-RISC. The method can discriminate among RISCs programmed with different guide strands, making it possible to deplete and recover specific RISC populations. Endogenous microRNA:Argonaute complexes can also be purified from cell lysates. Our method scales readily and takes less than a day to complete.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: RNA. 2013 Feb;19(2):271-9. doi: 10.1261/rna.036921.112. Epub 2012 Dec 18. Link to article on publisher's site


Copyright © 2013 RNA Society

Freely available online through the RNA Open Access option.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID




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