A renewed interest in non-coding RNA (ncRNA) has led to the discovery of novel RNA species and post-transcriptional ribonucleoside modifications, and an emerging appreciation for the role of ncRNA in RNA epigenetics. Although much can be learned by amplification-based analysis of ncRNA sequence and quantity, there is a significant need for direct analysis of RNA, which has led to numerous methods for purification of specific ncRNA molecules. However, no single method allows purification of the full range of cellular ncRNA species. To this end, we developed a multidimensional chromatographic platform to resolve, isolate and quantify all canonical ncRNAs in a single sample of cells or tissue, as well as novel ncRNA species. The applicability of the platform is demonstrated in analyses of ncRNA from bacteria, human cells and plasmodium-infected reticulocytes, as well as a viral RNA genome. Among the many potential applications of this platform are a system-level analysis of the dozens of modified ribonucleosides in ncRNA, characterization of novel long ncRNA species, enhanced detection of rare transcript variants and analysis of viral genomes.
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