Alternative polyadenylation (APA) is increasingly recognized to regulate gene expression across different cell types, but obtaining APA maps from individual cell types typically requires prior purification, a stressful procedure that can itself alter cellular states. Here, we describe a new platform, cTag-PAPERCLIP, that generates APA profiles from single cell populations in intact tissues; cTag-PAPERCLIP requires no tissue dissociation and preserves transcripts in native states. Applying cTag-PAPERCLIP to profile four major cell types in the mouse brain revealed common APA preferences between excitatory and inhibitory neurons distinct from astrocytes and microglia, regulated in part by neuron-specific RNA-binding proteins NOVA2 and PTBP2. We further identified a role of APA in switching Araf protein isoforms during microglia activation, impacting production of downstream inflammatory cytokines. Our results demonstrate the broad applicability of cTag-PAPERCLIP and a previously undiscovered role of APA in contributing to protein diversity between different cell types and cellular states within the brain.
Keywords: ARAF; NOVA; PTB; alternative polyadenylation; crosslinking immunoprecipitation; microglia; neuron; single cell type.
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