TRIBE: Hijacking an RNA-Editing Enzyme to Identify Cell-Specific Targets of RNA-Binding Proteins

Cell. 2016 Apr 21;165(3):742-53. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2016.03.007. Epub 2016 Mar 31.


RNA transcripts are bound and regulated by RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Current methods for identifying in vivo targets of an RBP are imperfect and not amenable to examining small numbers of cells. To address these issues, we developed TRIBE (targets of RNA-binding proteins identified by editing), a technique that couples an RBP to the catalytic domain of the Drosophila RNA-editing enzyme ADAR and expresses the fusion protein in vivo. RBP targets are marked with novel RNA editing events and identified by sequencing RNA. We have used TRIBE to identify the targets of three RBPs (Hrp48, dFMR1, and NonA). TRIBE compares favorably to other methods, including CLIP, and we have identified RBP targets from as little as 150 specific fly neurons. TRIBE can be performed without an antibody and in small numbers of specific cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Adenosine Deaminase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology*
  • Genetic Techniques*
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism
  • RNA Editing*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins
  • Hrb27C protein, Drosophila
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Adar protein, Drosophila
  • Adenosine Deaminase