Ribotag immunoprecipitation in the germ cells of the male mouse

Lauren G. Chukrallah, Kelly Seltzer, Elizabeth M. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Quantifying differences in mRNA abundance is a classic approach to understand the impact of a given gene mutation on cell physiology. However, characterizing differences in the translatome (the whole of translated mRNAs) provides an additional layer of information particularly useful when trying to understand the function of RNA regulating or binding proteins. A number of methods for accomplishing this have been developed, including ribosome profiling and polysome analysis. However, both methods carry significant technical challenges and cannot be applied to specific cell populations within a tissue unless combined with additional sorting methods. In contrast, the RiboTag method is a genetic-based, efficient, and technically straightforward alternative that allows the identification of ribosome associated RNAs from specific cell populations without added sorting steps, provided an applicable cell-specific Cre driver is available. This method consists of breeding to generate the genetic models, sample collection, immunoprecipitation, and downstream RNA analyses. Here, we outline this process in adult male mouse germ cells mutant for an RNA binding protein required for male fertility. Special attention is paid to considerations for breeding with a focus on efficient colony management and the generation of correct genetic backgrounds and immunoprecipitation in order to reduce background and optimize output. Discussion of troubleshooting options, additional confirmatory experiments, and potential downstream applications is also included. The presented genetic tools and molecular protocols represent a powerful way to describe the ribosome-associated RNAs of specific cell populations in complex tissues or in systems with aberrant mRNA storage and translation with the goal of informing on the molecular drivers of mutant phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere60927
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number157
StatePublished - Mar 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


  • Cell-specific
  • Developmental Biology
  • Issue 157
  • Male germ cell
  • RNA
  • RiboTag
  • Ribosome
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Translation


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