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Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience

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Identification of the cell type of origin for normal or aberrant gene expression is critical for many studies, and poses a significant problem for some regulatory RNAs such as microRNAs. MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that regulate cellular function by targeting specific mRNAs and reducing the level of their protein product. Aberrant expression of miRNAs in cell-types where they are not normally expressed occurs in several disease conditions. Therefore, it is important to determine not only the expression level of microRNAs, but also where they are expressed. Here we describe a detailed method for fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) combined with immunofluorescent labeling for cell-type markers in formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) sections along with modifications required to adapt the protocol for primary neurons grown in culture. We have combined the specificity and stability of locked nucleic acid (LNA) probes with tyramide signal amplification. To prevent loss of small RNA species, we performed post-fixation with ethylcarbodiimide (EDC). Additionally by omitting protease digestion and using only high temperature with sodium citrate buffer for FFPE sections, we were able to perform immunolabeling for proteins concurrently with in situ hybridization without compromising efficacy of either procedure.



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