Sequencing and Structure Probing of Long RNAs Using MarathonRT: A Next-Generation Reverse Transcriptase

J Mol Biol. 2020 May 1;432(10):3338-3352. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2020.03.022. Epub 2020 Apr 4.


Reverse transcriptase (RT) enzymes are indispensable tools for interrogating diverse aspects of RNA metabolism and transcriptome composition. Due to the growing interest in sequence and structural complexity of long RNA molecules, processive RT enzymes are now required for preserving linkage and information content in mixed populations of transcripts, and the low-processivity RT enzymes that are commercially available cannot meet this need. MarathonRT is encoded within a eubacterial group II intron, and it has been shown to efficiently copy highly structured long RNA molecules in a single pass. In this work, we systematically characterize MarathonRT as a tool enzyme and optimize its performance in a variety of applications that include single-cycle reverse transcription of long RNAs, dimethyl sulfate mutational profiling (DMS-MaP), selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension and mutational profiling (SHAPE-MaP), using ultra-long amplicons and the detection of natural RNA base modifications. By diversifying MarathonRT reaction protocols, we provide an upgraded suite of tools for cutting-edge RNA research and clinical application.

Keywords: DMS-MaP; RNA modifications; RNA structure; RNA-Seq; SHAPE-MaP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / enzymology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Computational Biology
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA / chemistry*
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • RNA
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase