My all time favorite RNA isolation, and most used protocol is the TRIzol method. Here I give you the basic protocol, including the recipe to make it yourself, which will save you a lot of money.
Update 2022: Balta and me have published this protocol in Current Protocols. It is open access, and now you can cite the method if you use it! Here is the link.
- Grind ~100 mg tissue in LN2 in a 10 ml polypropylene tube and a glass rod
- Transfer powder to 1.5 mL tube (approx 1/4th of the tube filled with powder)
- Add 1.2 ml TRIzol (TRIzol is best 1:10 (1 g 10 ml), but 1:5 and 1:2 works also fine)
- Mix well by inverting, and make sure the mixture is completely molten
- Shake vigorously 15” Don’t vortex! (shears gDNA, and can cause higher gDNA contamination)
- Incubate 5’ @ RT
- Add 0.3 ml CHCl3
- Shake vigorously 15’’
- Spin 5’ @ max speed
- Optional: Perform a Phenol: CHCl3 (1:1) treatment to the (upper) aqueous phase followed by a CHCl3 treatment.
- Transfer aqueous phase (approx 0.5 ml) to new tube
- Add 1 volume (0.5 ml) isopropanol to precipitate
- Mix well by inverting
- Precipitate 10’ @ RT
- Spin 5’@ max speed
- Wash RNA pellet with 70% EtOH
- Dry pellet
- Dissolve in appropriate vol. of RNAse free MQ
- Quantify on gel (1µl) and spectrophotometrically
38% Phenol (pure phenol from crystals, i.e. SIGMA P1037-500G)
0.8 M Guanidine Thiocyanate (118.16 g/mol)
0.4 M Ammonium Thiocyanate (79.12 g/mol)
0.1 M Sodium Acetate (82.03 g/mol)
5 % Glycerol
- It is easiest to buy 500 g Phenol crystals, melt it in a water bath @ ~50 °C and then calculate the rest accordingly with 500 g phenol as 38%.
- The density of phenol is 1.07 g/cm³, so if 500 g is 38%, this will be 500/1.07 = 467.3 ml, and therefore the total volume will be 467.3 *(100/38)= 1.23 liter.
- Now you can calculate the rest:
- 1.23 liter 0.8 M Guanide Thiocyanate: 0.8 M x 118.16 g/mol x 1.23 l = 116.3 g
- 1.23 liter 0.4 M Ammonium Thiocyanate: 0.4 M x 79.12 g/mol x 1.23 = 38.9 g
- 1.23 liter 0.1 M Sodium Acetate:1.23 x 0.1)/3 = 41 ml 3 M NaAc pH 5
- 1.23 liter 5% Glycerol: 1.23/20 = 61.5 ml 100% glycerol
- Make the aqueous solution (the salts and the glycerol) first, and then when the phenol is molten, add the phenol to it, mix well, aliquote (unless you have 1.23 L bottle), and store it in a cool dark place. Just make sure you dont shoot over te endvolume of 1.23 liter
- The preparation of 1.23 liter TRIzol will cost you about 10 times less than buying the reagent
- This TRIzol is not pink, but that is not important, just remember that Chloroform is heavier than water
- If you expect a lot of contamination of sugars (for example if you are working with fruit) a less-stringent precipitation can help although the yield will also decrease
- Instead of 1 volume isopropanol precipitate using 0.5 volume isopropanol and 0.5 volume of 0.8 M sodium citrate : 1.2 M NaCl (1:1)
- There is a better method to get rid of the sugars: the SDS-TRIzol combo method
- This protocol was previously published on my blog