Optimized FISH methods for visualizing RNA localization properties in Drosophila and human tissues and cultured cells

Methods. 2017 Aug 15:126:156-165. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2017.06.027. Epub 2017 Jun 28.


Eukaryotic gene expression is orchestrated by a large number of regulatory steps to modulate the synthesis, maturation and fate of various families of protein-coding and non-coding RNA molecules. Defining the subcellular localization properties of an RNA molecule is thus of considerable importance for gleaning its function(s) and for elucidating post-transcriptional gene regulation pathways. For decades, fluorescent In Situ hybridization (FISH) has constituted the gold-standard technique for assessing RNA expression and distribution properties in cultured cells, tissue specimens, and whole mount organisms. Recently, several attempts aimed at advancing multiplex RNA-FISH experiments have been published. However, these procedures are both financially demanding and technically challenging, while their full potential remains unexploited. Here we describe an optimized RNA-FISH method employing the Tyramide Signal Amplification system that robustly enhances resolution and sensitivity needed for exploring RNA localization in Drosophila embryos, tissues and commonly cultured human and insect cell lines. Methodological details and key parameters are outlined for high-throughput analyses conducted in 96-well plate format.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drosophila / chemistry*
  • Drosophila / cytology*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence / methods*
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence / standards
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • RNA / analysis*
  • RNA / isolation & purification


  • RNA

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