CRISPR/Cas9-targeted removal of unwanted sequences from small-RNA sequencing libraries

Academic Article


  • In small RNA (smRNA) sequencing studies, highly abundant molecules such as adapter dimer products and tissue-specific microRNAs (miRNAs) inhibit accurate quantification of lowly expressed species. We previously developed a method to selectively deplete highly abundant miRNAs. However, this method does not deplete adapter dimer ligation products that, unless removed by gel-separation, comprise most of the library. Here, we have adapted and modified recently described methods for CRISPR/Cas9–based Depletion of Abundant Species by Hybridization (‘DASH’) to smRNA-seq, which we have termed miRNA and Adapter Dimer––DASH (MAD-DASH). In MAD-DASH, Cas9 is complexed with single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) targeting adapter dimer ligation products, alongside highly expressed tissue-specific smRNAs, for cleavage in vitro. This process dramatically reduces adapter dimer and targeted smRNA sequences, can be multiplexed, shows minimal off-target effects, improves the quantification of lowly expressed miRNAs from human plasma and tissue derived RNA, and obviates the need for gel-separation, greatly increasing sample throughput. Additionally, the method is fully customizable to other smRNA-seq preparation methods. Like depletion of ribosomal RNA for mRNA-seq and mitochondrial DNA for ATAC-seq, our method allows for greater proportional read-depth of non-targeted sequences.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hardigan AA; Roberts BS; Moore DE; Ramaker RC; Jones AL; Myers RM
  • Start Page

  • E84
  • Volume

  • 47
  • Issue

  • 14