Discrimination between RNA circles, interlocked RNA circles and lariats using two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.


Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis can be used to identify structural forms of RNA such as linear RNA, circular RNA, interlocked circles and lariats. The procedure is based upon the characteristic migration behaviour of the degradation products derived from the intact structures present already before the start of the experiment or formed during or after electrophoresis in the first dimension. After autoradiography to detect the positions of the radiolabeled RNA molecules, circles broken during electrophoresis of the first dimension give rise to horizontal lines touching the diagonal formed by linear RNAs at a point corresponding to the length of the RNA circle from which it was derived. Products derived from interlocked RNA circles by breakage after completion of the first dimension appear on a vertical line underneath the intact complex and consist of free RNA circles and their linear derivatives. Broken lariats give rise to two lines depending on the location of the break. Lariats with broken tails are present on a line to a position that corresponds to the length of their tail and that runs parallel to the diagonal formed by linear products. Lariats with a broken eye form a line running from the position of the intact product to the diagonal formed by the linear RNAs.

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