Published on Oct. 1, 2014 in Nucleic Acids Res volume 42.
PubMed ID: 25129236
In the resurging field of RNA modifications, quantification is a bottleneck blocking many exciting avenues. With currently over 150 known nucleoside alterations, detection and quantification methods must encompass multiple modifications for a comprehensive profile. LC-MS/MS approaches offer a perspective for comprehensive parallel quantification of all the various modifications found in total RNA of a given organism. By feeding (13)C-glucose as sole carbon source, we have generated a stable isotope-labeled internal standard (SIL-IS) for bacterial RNA, which facilitates relative comparison of all modifications. While conventional SIL-IS approaches require the chemical synthesis of single modifications in weighable quantities, this SIL-IS consists of a nucleoside mixture covering all detectable RNA modifications of Escherichia coli, yet in small and initially unknown quantities. For absolute in addition to relative quantification, those quantities were determined by a combination of external calibration and sample spiking of the biosynthetic SIL-IS. For each nucleoside, we thus obtained a very robust relative response factor, which permits direct conversion of the MS signal to absolute amounts of substance. The application of the validated SIL-IS allowed highly precise quantification with standard deviations<2% during a 12-week period, and a linear dynamic range that was extended by two orders of magnitude.