Purification and analysis of endogenous human RNA exosome complexes

RNA. 2016 Sep;22(9):1467-75. doi: 10.1261/rna.057760.116. Epub 2016 Jul 11.


As a result of its importance in key RNA metabolic processes, the ribonucleolytic RNA exosome complex has been the focus of intense study for almost two decades. Research on exosome subunit assembly, cofactor and substrate interaction, enzymatic catalysis and structure have largely been conducted using complexes produced in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae or in bacteria. Here, we examine different populations of endogenous exosomes from human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells and test their enzymatic activity and structural integrity. We describe methods to prepare EXOSC10-containing, enzymatically active endogenous human exosomes at suitable yield and purity for in vitro biochemistry and negative stain transmission electron microscopy. This opens the door for assays designed to test the in vitro effects of putative cofactors on human exosome activity and will enable structural studies of preparations from endogenous sources.

Keywords: RNA exosome; protein complex purification; ribonuclease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Exosomes / chemistry*
  • Exosomes / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger