RNA isolation: Disruption and homogenization of starting materials
Efficient disruption and homogenization of the starting material is an absolute requirement for all total RNA isolation procedures. Disruption and homogenization are two distinct steps.
- Disruption: Complete disruption of tissue structure, cell walls, and plasma membranes of cells is absolutely required to release all the RNA contained in the sample. Different samples require different methods to achieve complete disruption. Incomplete disruption results in significantly reduced yields.
- Homogenization: Homogenization is necessary to reduce the viscosity of the cell lysates produced by disruption. Homogenization shears the high-molecular-weight genomic DNA and other high-molecular-weight cellular components to create a homogeneous lysate. Incomplete homogenization results in inefficient binding of RNA and therefore significantly reduced yields.
Some disruption methods simultaneously homogenize the sample while others require an additional homogenization step. The infographic gives an overview of different disruption and homogenization methods suitable for various starting materials. It can be used as a guide to choose the appropriate method for the starting material with which you are working.