PRIMA: a gene-centered, RNA-to-protein method for mapping RNA-protein interactions

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Systems Biology; Program in Molecular Medicine; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology; UMass Metabolic Network

Publication Date


Document Type



Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Systems Biology


Interactions between RNA binding proteins (RBPs) and mRNAs are critical to post-transcriptional gene regulation. Eukaryotic genomes encode thousands of mRNAs and hundreds of RBPs. However, in contrast to interactions between transcription factors (TFs) and DNA, the interactome between RBPs and RNA has been explored for only a small number of proteins and RNAs. This is largely because the focus has been on using 'protein-centered' (RBP-to-RNA) interaction mapping methods that identify the RNAs with which an individual RBP interacts. While powerful, these methods cannot as of yet be applied to the entire RBPome. Moreover, it may be desirable for a researcher to identify the repertoire of RBPs that can interact with an mRNA of interest-in a 'gene-centered' manner-yet few such techniques are available. Here, we present Protein-RNA Interaction Mapping Assay (PRIMA) with which an RNA 'bait' can be tested versus multiple RBP 'preys' in a single experiment. PRIMA is a translation-based assay that examines interactions in the yeast cytoplasm, the cellular location of mRNA translation. We show that PRIMA can be used with small RNA elements, as well as with full-length Caenorhabditis elegans 3' UTRs. PRIMA faithfully recapitulated numerous well-characterized RNA-RBP interactions and also identified novel interactions, some of which were confirmed in vivo. We envision that PRIMA will provide a complementary tool to expand the depth and scale with which the RNA-RBP interactome can be explored.


3′ untranslated region, caenorhabditis elegans, RNA, RNA binding protein, yeast

DOI of Published Version



Translation (Austin). 2017 Feb 28;5(1):e1295130. doi: 10.1080/21690731.2017.1295130. eCollection 2017. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Translation (Austin, Tex.)

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID