Translating Ribosome Affinity Purification (TRAP) of Cell Type-specific mRNA from Mouse Brain Lysates

Bio Protoc. 2022 May 5;12(9):e4407. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.4407.


Mammalian tissues are highly heterogenous and complex, posing a challenge in understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating protein expression within various tissues. Recent studies have shown that translation at the level of the ribosome is highly regulated, and can vary independently of gene expression observed at a transcriptome level, as well as between cell populations, contributing to the diversity of mammalian tissues. Earlier methods that analyzed gene expression at the level of translation, such as polysomal- or ribosomal-profiling, required large amounts of starting material to isolate enough RNA for analysis by microarray or RNA-sequencing. Thus, rare or less abundant cell types within tissues were not able to be properly studied with these methods. Translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP) utilizes the incorporation of an eGFP-affinity tag on the large ribosome subunit, driven by expression of cell-type specific Cre-lox promoters, to allow for identification and capture of transcripts from actively translating ribosomes in a cell-specific manner. As a result, TRAP offers a unique opportunity to evaluate the entire mRNA translation profile within a specific cell type, and increase our understanding regarding the cellular complexity of mammalian tissues. Graphical abstract: Schematic demonstrating TRAP protocol for identifying ribosome-bound transcripts specifically within cerebellar Purkinje cells.

Keywords: Cell-specific translation; Protein synthesis; Translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP).