Quantitative criteria to identify proteins as RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are presently lacking, as are criteria to define RBP target RNAs. Here, we develop an ultraviolet (UV) cross-linking immunoprecipitation (CLIP)-sequencing method, easyCLIP. easyCLIP provides absolute cross-link rates, as well as increased simplicity, efficiency, and capacity to visualize RNA libraries during sequencing library preparation. Measurement of >200 independent cross-link experiments across >35 proteins identifies an RNA cross-link rate threshold that distinguishes RBPs from non-RBPs and defines target RNAs as those with a complex frequency unlikely for a random protein. We apply easyCLIP to the 33 most recurrent cancer mutations across 28 RBPs, finding increased RNA binding per RBP molecule for KHDRBS2 R168C, A1CF E34K and PCBP1 L100P/Q cancer mutations. Quantitating RBP-RNA interactions can thus nominate proteins as RBPs and define the impact of specific disease-associated RBP mutations on RNA association.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-21623-4
View details for PubMedID 33692367