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Live Cell Imaging of Single RNA Molecules with Fluorogenic Mango II Arrays

By Adam D. Cawte, Peter J. Unrau, David S. Rueda

Posted 12 Nov 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/840082 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-14932-7)

RNA molecules play vital roles in many cellular processes. Visualising their dynamics in live cells at single-molecule resolution is essential to elucidate their role in RNA metabolism. RNA aptamers, such as Spinach and Mango, have recently emerged as a powerful background-free technology for live-cell RNA imaging due to their fluorogenic properties upon ligand binding. Here, we report a novel array of Mango II aptamers for RNA imaging in live and fixed cells with high contrast and single-molecule sensitivity. Direct comparison of Mango II and MS2-tdMCP-mCherry dual-labelled mRNAs show marked improvements in signal to noise ratio using the fluorogenic Mango aptamers. Using both coding (β-actin mRNA) and long non-coding (NEAT1) RNAs, we show that the Mango array does not affect cellular localisation. Additionally, we can track single mRNAs for extended time periods, likely due to fluorophore exchange. This property makes the arrays readily compatible with structured illumination super-resolution microscopy.

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