RNA structure is a primary determinant of its function, and methods that merge chemical probing with next generation sequencing have created breakthroughs in the throughput and scale of RNA structure characterization. However, little work has been done to examine the effects of library preparation and sequencing on the measured chemical probe reactivities that encode RNA structural information. Here, we present the first analysis and optimization of these effects for selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension sequencing (SHAPE-Seq). We first optimize SHAPE-Seq, and show that it provides highly reproducible reactivity data over a wide range of RNA structural contexts with no apparent biases. As part of this optimization, we present SHAPE-Seq v2.0, a 'universal' method that can obtain reactivity information for every nucleotide of an RNA without having to use or introduce a specific reverse transcriptase priming site within the RNA. We show that SHAPE-Seq v2.0 is highly reproducible, with reactivity data that can be used as constraints in RNA folding algorithms to predict structures on par with those generated using data from other SHAPE methods. We anticipate SHAPE-Seq v2.0 to be broadly applicable to understanding the RNA sequence-structure relationship at the heart of some of life's most fundamental processes.
© The Author(s) 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.