Direct RNA targeted in situ sequencing for transcriptomic profiling in tissue

Sci Rep. 2022 May 13;12(1):7976. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-11534-9.


Highly multiplexed spatial mapping of transcripts within tissues allows for investigation of the transcriptomic and cellular diversity of mammalian organs previously unseen. Here we explore a direct RNA (dRNA) detection approach incorporating the use of padlock probes and rolling circle amplification in combination with hybridization-based in situ sequencing chemistry. We benchmark a High Sensitivity Library Preparation Kit from CARTANA that circumvents the reverse transcription needed for cDNA-based in situ sequencing (ISS) via direct RNA detection. We found a fivefold increase in transcript detection efficiency when compared to cDNA-based ISS and also validated its multiplexing capability by targeting a curated panel of 50 genes from previous publications on mouse brain sections, leading to additional data interpretation such as de novo cell clustering. With this increased efficiency, we also found to maintain specificity, multiplexing capabilities and ease of implementation. Overall, the dRNA chemistry shows significant improvements in target detection efficiency, closing the gap to other fluorescent in situ hybridization-based technologies and opens up possibilities to explore new biological questions previously not possible with cDNA-based ISS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mammals
  • Mice
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • RNA*
  • Transcriptome* / genetics


  • DNA, Complementary
  • RNA