A robust method for RNA extraction and purification from a single adult mouse tendon
Mechanistic understanding of tendon molecular and cellular biology is crucial towards furthering our abilities to design new therapies for tendon and ligament injuries and disease. Recent transcriptomic and epigenomic studies in the field have harnessed the power of mouse genetics to reveal new insights into tendon biology. However, many mouse studies pool tendon tissues or use amplification methods to perform RNA analysis, which can significantly increase the experimental costs and limit the
... ility to detect changes in expression of low copy transcripts. Methods: Single Achilles tendons were harvested from uninjured, contralateral injured, and wild type mice between 3-5 months of age, and RNA was extracted. RNA Integrity Number (RIN) and concentration were determined, and RT-qPCR gene expression analysis was performed. Results: After testing several RNA extraction approaches on single adult mouse Achilles tendons, we developed a protocol that was successful at obtaining high RIN and sufficient concentrations suitable for RNA analysis. We found that the RNA quality was sensitive to the time between tendon harvest and homogenization, and the RNA quality and concentration was dependent on the duration of homogenization. Using this method, we demonstrate that analysis of Scx gene expression in single mouse tendons reduces the biological variation caused by pooling tendons from multiple mice. We also show successful use of this approach to analyze Sox9 and Col1a2 gene expression changes in injured compared with uninjured control tendons. Discussion: Our work presents a robust, cost-effective, and straightforward method to extract high quality RNA from a single adult mouse Achilles tendon at sufficient amounts for RNA-seq and RT-qPCR. We show this can reduce biological variation and decrease the overall costs associated with experiments. This approach can also be applied to other skeletal tissues as well as precious human samples.