Extendable blocking probe in reverse transcription for analysis of RNA variants with superior selectivity

Researchers from the Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research, Finland have developed the first strategy to use a competitive Extendable Blocking Probe (ExBP) for allele-specific priming with superior selectivity at the stage of reverse transcription. In order to analyze highly similar RNA variants, a reverse-transcriptase primer whose sequence matches a specific variant selectively primes only that variant, whereas mismatch priming to the alternative variant is suppressed by virtue of hybridization and subsequent extension of the perfectly matched ExBP on that alternative variant template to form a cDNA-RNA hybrid. This hybrid will render the alternative RNA template unavailable for mismatch priming initiated by the specific primer in a hot-start protocol of reverse transcription when the temperature decreases to a level where such mismatch priming could occur. The ExBP-based reverse transcription assay detected BRAF and KRAS mutations in at least 1000-fold excess of wild-type RNA and detection was linear over a 4-log dynamic range. This novel strategy not only reveals the presence or absence of rare mutations with an exceptionally high selectivity, but also provides a convenient tool for accurate determination of RNA variants in different settings, such as quantification of allele-specific expression.

rna-seq

Ho TH, Dang KX, Lintula S, Hotakainen K, Feng L, Olkkonen VM, Verschuren EW, Tenkanen T, Haglund C, Kolho KL, Stenman UH, Stenman J. (2014) Extendable blocking probe in reverse transcription for analysis of RNA variants with superior selectivity. Nucleic Acids Res [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

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