Recent studies highlight the importance of translational control in determining protein abundance, underscoring the value of measuring gene expression at the level of translation. We present a protocol for genome-wide, quantitative analysis of in vivo translation by deep sequencing. This ribosome profiling approach maps the exact positions of ribosomes on transcripts by nuclease footprinting. The nuclease-protected mRNA fragments are converted into a DNA library suitable for deep sequencing using a strategy that minimizes bias. The abundance of different footprint fragments in deep sequencing data reports on the amount of translation of a gene. Additionally, footprints reveal the exact regions of the transcriptome that are translated. To better define translated reading frames, we describe an adaptation that reveals the sites of translation initiation by pre-treating cells with harringtonine to immobilize initiating ribosomes. The protocol we describe requires 5–7 days to generate a completed ribosome profiling sequencing library. Sequencing and data analysis requires a further 4 – 5 days.
Keywords: translation, ribosome profiling, ribosome footprinting, deep sequencing