While mapping total and poly-adenylated human transcriptomes has now become routine, characterizing nascent transcripts remains challenging, largely because nascent RNAs have such short half-lives. Here, we describe a simple, fast and cost-effective method to isolate RNA associated with transcription factories, the sites responsible for the majority of nuclear transcription. Following stimulation of human endothelial cells with the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNFα, we isolate and analyse the RNA content of factories by sequencing. Comparison with total, poly(A)(+) and chromatin RNA fractions reveals that sequencing of purified factory RNA maps the complete nascent transcriptome; it is rich in intronic unprocessed transcript, as well as long intergenic non-coding (lincRNAs) and enhancer-associated RNAs (eRNAs), micro-RNA precursors and repeat-derived RNAs. Hence, we verify that transcription factories produce most nascent RNA and confer a regulatory role via their association with a set of specifically-retained non-coding transcripts.
© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.