Detection of the First Round of Translation: The TRICK Assay

Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1649:373-384. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7213-5_25.


Quantitative fluorescence microscopy techniques are frequently applied to answer fundamental biological questions. Single-molecule RNA imaging methods have enabled the direct observation of the initial steps of the mRNA life cycle in living cells, however, the dynamic mechanisms that regulate mRNA translation are still poorly understood. We have developed an RNA biosensor that can assess the translational state of individual mRNA transcripts with spatiotemporal resolution in living cells. In this chapter, we describe how to perform a TRICK (translating RNA imaging by coat protein knock-off) experiment and specifically focus on a detailed description of our image processing and data analysis procedure.

Keywords: Coat proteins; MS2/PP7 stem-loops; Quantitative fluorescence microscopy in live cells; Single-RNA imaging; TRICK; mRNA translation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • Capsid Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA / metabolism*


  • Capsid Proteins
  • RNA