Addison, S.L., McDonald, I.R. & Lloyd-Jones, G. (2010). Stable isotope probing: Technical considerations when resolving ¹⁵N -labeled RNA in gradients. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 80(1), 70-75.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3556
RNA based stable isotope probing (SIP) facilitates the detection and identification of active members of microbial populations that are involved in the assimilation of an isotopically labeled compound. ¹⁵N-RNA-SIP is a new method that has been discussed in recent literature but has not yet been tested. Herein, we define the limitations to using ¹⁵N-labeled substrates for SIP and propose modifications to compensate for some of these shortcomings. We have used ¹⁵N-RNA-SIP as a tool for analysing mixed bacterial populations that use nitrogen substrates. After incubating mixed microbial communities with ¹⁵N-ammonium chloride or ¹⁵N₂ we assessed the fractionation resolution of ¹⁵N-RNA by isopycnic centrifugation in caesium trifluoroacetate (CsTFA) gradients. We found that the more isotopic label incorporated, the further the buoyant density (BD) separation between ¹⁵N- and ¹⁴N-RNA, however it was not possible to resolve the labeled from unlabeled RNA definitively through gradient fractionation. Terminal-restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis of the extracted RNA and fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH) analysis of the enrichment cultures provided some insight into the organisms involved in nitrogen fixation. This approach is not without its limitations and will require further developments to assess its applicability to other nitrogen-fixing environments.
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the Journal of Microbiological Methods. Copyright © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.