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1.  Selection of reference genes for gene expression studies in pig tissues using SYBR green qPCR 
Real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR) is a method for rapid and reliable quantification of mRNA transcription. Internal standards such as reference genes are used to normalise mRNA levels between different samples for an exact comparison of mRNA transcription level. Selection of high quality reference genes is of crucial importance for the interpretation of data generated by real-time qPCR.
In this study nine commonly used reference genes were investigated in 17 different pig tissues using real-time qPCR with SYBR green. The genes included beta-actin (ACTB), beta-2-microglobulin (B2M), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), hydroxymethylbilane synthase (HMBS), hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase 1 (HPRT1), ribosomal protein L4 (RPL4), succinate dehydrogenase complex subunit A (SDHA), TATA box binding protein (TPB)and tyrosine 3-monooxygenase/tryptophan 5-monooxygenase activation protein zeta polypeptide (YWHAZ). The stability of these reference genes in different pig tissues was investigated using the geNorm application. The range of expression stability in the genes analysed was (from the most stable to the least stable): ACTB/RPL4, TBP, HPRT, HMBS, YWHAZ, SDHA, B2M and GAPDH.
Expression stability varies greatly between genes. ACTB, RPL4, TPB and HPRT1 were found to have the highest stability across tissues. Based on both expression stability and expression level, our data suggest that ACTB and RPL4 are good reference genes for high abundant transcripts while TPB and HPRT1 are good reference genes for low abundant transcripts in expression studies across different pig tissues.
PMCID: PMC2000887  PMID: 17697375
2.  Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction: description of a RIN-based algorithm for accurate data normalization 
BMC Molecular Biology  2009;10:31.
Reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is the gold standard technique for mRNA quantification, but appropriate normalization is required to obtain reliable data. Normalization to accurately quantitated RNA has been proposed as the most reliable method for in vivo biopsies. However, this approach does not correct differences in RNA integrity.
In this study, we evaluated the effect of RNA degradation on the quantification of the relative expression of nine genes (18S, ACTB, ATUB, B2M, GAPDH, HPRT, POLR2L, PSMB6 and RPLP0) that cover a wide expression spectrum. Our results show that RNA degradation could introduce up to 100% error in gene expression measurements when RT-qPCR data were normalized to total RNA. To achieve greater resolution of small differences in transcript levels in degraded samples, we improved this normalization method by developing a corrective algorithm that compensates for the loss of RNA integrity. This approach allowed us to achieve higher accuracy, since the average error for quantitative measurements was reduced to 8%. Finally, we applied our normalization strategy to the quantification of EGFR, HER2 and HER3 in 104 rectal cancer biopsies. Taken together, our data show that normalization of gene expression measurements by taking into account also RNA degradation allows much more reliable sample comparison.
We developed a new normalization method of RT-qPCR data that compensates for loss of RNA integrity and therefore allows accurate gene expression quantification in human biopsies.
PMCID: PMC2679744  PMID: 19368728
3.  Identification of Appropriate Reference Genes for Human Mesenchymal Cells during Expansion and Differentiation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e73792.
Quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is an extremely powerful technique for monitoring gene expression. The quantity of the messenger ribonucleic acids (mRNA) of interest should be normalized using a reference gene, in order to avoid unreliable results originated by the obtained RNA quality and quantity, manipulation errors and inhibitory contaminants. A reference gene is any gene that is stably and consistently expressed under the conditions being studied. Completely false data can be generated if a reference gene is not chosen adequately.
In the present study, we compared expression levels of five putative reference genes (HPRT1, ACTB, GAPDH, RPL13A and B2M) in primary cultures of four different human cells: mesenchymal stromal cells obtained from bone marrow, adipose tissue or umbilical cord Whartońs Jelly, and dermal fibroblasts, under different expansion and differentiation conditions. We observed that reference genes are not the same for different cells under the same culture conditions.
Most stable reference genes under our experimental conditions were: RPL13A for adipose tissue- and Whartońs Jelly-derived mesenchymal stromal cells, and HPRT1 for bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells and dermal fibroblasts. ACTB was the most unstable gene when evaluating adipose tissue- and Whartońs Jelly-derived mesenchymal stromal cells, whilst GAPDH and B2M were the most unstable genes for bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells and dermal fibroblasts, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3759474  PMID: 24023904
4.  RNA pre-amplification enables large-scale RT-qPCR gene-expression studies on limiting sample amounts 
BMC Research Notes  2009;2:235.
The quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is a widely utilized method for gene-expression analysis. However, insufficient material often compromises large-scale gene-expression studies. The aim of this study is to evaluate an RNA pre-amplification method to produce micrograms of cDNA as input for qPCR.
The linear isothermal Ribo-SPIA pre-amplification method (WT-Ovation; NuGEN) was first evaluated by measuring the expression of 20 genes in RNA samples from six neuroblastoma cell lines and of 194 genes in two commercially available reference RNA samples before and after pre-amplification, and subsequently applied on a large panel of 738 RNA samples extracted from neuroblastoma tumours. All RNA samples were evaluated for RNA integrity and purity. Starting from 5 to 50 nanograms of total RNA the sample pre-amplification method was applied, generating approximately 5 microgams of cDNA, sufficient to measure more than 1000 target genes. The results obtained from this study show a constant yield of pre-amplified cDNA independent of the amount of input RNA; preservation of differential gene-expression after pre-amplification without introduction of substantial bias; no co-amplification of contaminating genomic DNA; no necessity to purify the pre-amplified material; and finally the importance of good RNA quality to enable pre-amplification.
Application of this unbiased and easy to use sample pre-amplification technology offers great advantage to generate sufficient material for diagnostic and prognostic work-up and enables large-scale qPCR gene-expression studies using limited amounts of sample material.
PMCID: PMC2789097  PMID: 19930725
5.  Reference gene alternatives to Gapdh in rodent and human heart failure gene expression studies 
BMC Molecular Biology  2010;11:22.
Quantitative real-time RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) is a highly sensitive method for mRNA quantification, but requires invariant expression of the chosen reference gene(s). In pathological myocardium, there is limited information on suitable reference genes other than the commonly used Gapdh mRNA and 18S ribosomal RNA. Our aim was to evaluate and identify suitable reference genes in human failing myocardium, in rat and mouse post-myocardial infarction (post-MI) heart failure and across developmental stages in fetal and neonatal rat myocardium.
The abundance of Arbp, Rpl32, Rpl4, Tbp, Polr2a, Hprt1, Pgk1, Ppia and Gapdh mRNA and 18S ribosomal RNA in myocardial samples was quantified by RT-qPCR. The expression variability of these transcripts was evaluated by the geNorm and Normfinder algorithms and by a variance component analysis method. Biological variability was a greater contributor to sample variability than either repeated reverse transcription or PCR reactions.
The most stable reference genes were Rpl32, Gapdh and Polr2a in mouse post-infarction heart failure, Polr2a, Rpl32 and Tbp in rat post-infarction heart failure and Rpl32 and Pgk1 in human heart failure (ischemic disease and cardiomyopathy). The overall most stable reference genes across all three species was Rpl32 and Polr2a. In rat myocardium, all reference genes tested showed substantial variation with developmental stage, with Rpl4 as was most stable among the tested genes.
PMCID: PMC2907514  PMID: 20331858
6.  miR-21 in the Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) of Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF): A Platform for Glioblastoma Biomarker Development 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78115.
Glioblastoma cells secrete extra-cellular vesicles (EVs) containing microRNAs (miRNAs). Analysis of these EV miRNAs in the bio-fluids of afflicted patients represents a potential platform for biomarker development. However, the analytic algorithm for quantitative assessment of EV miRNA remains under-developed. Here, we demonstrate that the reference transcripts commonly used for quantitative PCR (including GAPDH, 18S rRNA, and hsa-miR-103) were unreliable for assessing EV miRNA. In this context, we quantitated EV miRNA in absolute terms and normalized this value to the input EV number. Using this method, we examined the abundance of miR-21, a highly over-expressed miRNA in glioblastomas, in EVs. In a panel of glioblastoma cell lines, the cellular levels of miR-21 correlated with EV miR-21 levels (p<0.05), suggesting that glioblastoma cells actively secrete EVs containing miR-21. Consistent with this hypothesis, the CSF EV miR-21 levels of glioblastoma patients (n=13) were, on average, ten-fold higher than levels in EVs isolated from the CSF of non-oncologic patients (n=13, p<0.001). Notably, none of the glioblastoma CSF harbored EV miR-21 level below 0.25 copies per EV in this cohort. Using this cut-off value, we were able to prospectively distinguish CSF derived from glioblastoma and non-oncologic patients in an independent cohort of twenty-nine patients (Sensitivity=87%; Specificity=93%; AUC=0.91, p<0.01). Our results suggest that CSF EV miRNA analysis of miR-21 may serve as a platform for glioblastoma biomarker development.
PMCID: PMC3804457  PMID: 24205116
7.  A multiplex endpoint RT-PCR assay for quality assessment of RNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues 
BMC Biotechnology  2010;10:89.
RNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples is chemically modified and degraded, which compromises its use in gene expression studies. Most of the current approaches for RNA quality assessment are not suitable for FFPE derived RNA.
We have developed a single-tube multiplex endpoint RT-PCR assay specifically designed to evaluate RNA extracted from FFPE tissues for mRNA integrity and performance in reverse transcription - quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) assays. This single-tube quality control (QC) assay minimises the amount of RNA used in quality control. mRNA integrity and the suitability of RNA for RT-PCR is evaluated by the multiplex endpoint RT-PCR assay using the TBP gene mRNA as the target sequence. The RT-PCR amplicon sizes, 92, 161, 252 and 300 bp, cover a range of amplicon sizes suitable for a wide range of RT-qPCR assays. The QC assay was used to evaluate RNA prepared by two different protocols for extracting total RNA from needle microdissected FFPE breast tumour samples. The amplification products were analysed by gel electrophoresis where the spectrum of amplicon sizes indicated the level of RNA degradation and thus the suitability of the RNA for PCR. The ability of the multiplex endpoint RT-PCR QC assay to identify FFPE samples with an adequate RNA quality was validated by examining the Cq values of an RT-qPCR assay with an 87 bp amplicon.
The multiplex endpoint RT-PCR assay is well suited for the determination of the quality of FFPE derived RNAs, to identify which RT-PCR assays they are suitable for, and is also applicable to assess non-FFPE RNA for gene expression studies. Furthermore, the assay can also be used for the evaluation of RNA extraction protocols from FFPE samples.
PMCID: PMC3016381  PMID: 21162754
8.  Selection of reference genes for normalization of quantitative real-time PCR in organ culture of the rat and rabbit intervertebral disc 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:162.
The accuracy of quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) is often influenced by experimental artifacts, resulting in erroneous expression profiles of target genes. The practice of employing normalization using a reference gene significantly improves reliability and its applicability to molecular biology. However, selection of an ideal reference gene(s) is of critical importance to discern meaningful results. The aim of this study was to evaluate the stability of seven potential reference genes (Actb, GAPDH, 18S rRNA, CycA, Hprt1, Ywhaz, and Pgk1) and identify most stable gene(s) for application in tissue culture research using the rat and rabbit intervertebral disc (IVD).
In vitro, four genes (Hprt1, CycA, GAPDH, and 18S rRNA) in rat IVD tissue and five genes (CycA, Hprt1, Actb, Pgk1, and Ywhaz) in rabbit IVD tissue were determined as most stable for up to 14 days in culture. Pair-wise variation analysis indicated that combination of Hprt1 and CycA in rat and the combination of Hprt1, CycA, and Actb in rabbit may most stable reference gene candidates for IVD tissue culture.
Our results indicate that Hprt1 and CycA are the most stable reference gene candidates for rat and rabbit IVD culture studies. In rabbit IVD, Actb could be an additional gene employed in conjunction with Hprt1 and CycA. Selection of optimal reference gene candidate(s) should be a pertinent exercise before employment of PCR outcome measures for biomedical research.
PMCID: PMC3118343  PMID: 21615931
9.  Validation of housekeeping genes for quantitative real-time PCR in in-vivo and in-vitro models of cerebral ischaemia 
BMC Molecular Biology  2009;10:57.
Studies of gene expression in experimental cerebral ischaemia models can contribute to understanding the pathophysiology of brain ischaemia and to identifying prognostic markers and potential therapeutic targets. The normalization of relative qRT-PCR data using a suitable reference gene is a crucial prerequisite for obtaining reliable conclusions. No validated housekeeping genes have been reported for the relative quantification of the mRNA expression profile activated in in-vitro ischaemic conditions, whereas for the in-vivo model different reference genes have been used.
The present study aims to determine the expression stability of ten housekeeping genes (Gapdh, β2m, Hprt, Ppia, Rpl13a, Oaz1, 18S rRNA, Gusb, Ywhaz and Sdha) to establish their suitability as control genes for in-vitro and in-vivo cerebral ischaemia models.
The expression stability of the candidate reference genes was evaluated using the 2-ΔC'T method and ANOVA followed by Dunnett's test. For the in-vitro model using primary cultures of rat astrocytes, all genes analysed except for Rpl13a and Sdha were found to have significantly different levels of mRNA expression. These different levels were also found in the case of the in-vivo model of pMCAO in rats except for Hprt, Sdha and Ywhaz mRNA, where the expression did not vary. Sdha and Ywhaz were identified by geNorm and NormFinder as the two most stable genes.
We have validated endogenous control genes for qRT-PCR analysis of gene expression in in-vitro and in-vivo cerebral ischaemia models. For normalization purposes, Rpl13a and Sdha are found to be the most suitable genes for the in-vitro model and Sdha and Ywhaz for the in-vivo model. Genes previously used as housekeeping genes for the in-vivo model in the literature were not validated as good control genes in the present study, showing the need for careful evaluation for each new experimental setup.
PMCID: PMC2706836  PMID: 19531214
10.  P126-T A Rapid and Sensitive Method for RNA Quality Determination on Capillary Electrophoresis Systems 
RNA quality is directly correlated to the success of various applications, such as microarray or real time qPCR-based gene expression analyses, cDNA library construction, Northern analyses, and RNAse protection assays, which utilize RNA samples from various organisms, tissues, cell lines, and precious biological samples. We present a novel method for examining RNA integrity and purity using capillary electrophoresis that is more cost-effective and scalable than current standard methods. This highly sensitive method uses less material, uncovers impurities following RNA purification, and detects degradation resulting from nuclease contamination. Total RNA and cRNA, derived from various tissues and cell lines, were stained with the dye YOYO-1 and run through a custom polymer formulation on a capillary electrophoresis platform. Using downstream analysis software, we resolved RNA species and their relative quality based on parameters such as size, profile, peak area, and peak height. Our results highlight the potential for high-throughput capillary electrophoresis as a much more discriminatory and cost-saving method in evaluating RNA quality.
PMCID: PMC2292050
11.  Evaluation of suitable reference genes for gene expression studies in bronchoalveolar lavage cells from horses with inflammatory airway disease 
The stability of reference genes has a tremendous effect on the results of relative quantification of genes expression by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Equine Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD) is a common condition often treated with corticosteroids. The diagnosis of IAD is based on clinical signs and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid cytology. The aim of this study was to identify reference genes with the most stable mRNA expression in the BAL cells of horses with IAD irrespective of corticosteroids treatment.
The expression stability of seven candidate reference genes (B2M, HPRT, GAPDH, ACTB, UBB, RPL32, SDHA) was determined by qRT-PCR in BAL samples taken pre- and post- treatment with dexamethasone and fluticasone propionate for two weeks in 7 horses with IAD. Primers' efficiencies were calculated using LinRegPCR. NormFinder, GeNorm and qBasePlus softwares were used to rank the genes according to their stability. GeNorm was also used to determine both the ideal number and the best combination of reference genes. GAPDH was found to be the most stably expressed gene with the three softwares. GeNorm ranked B2M as the least stable gene. Based on the pair-wise variation cut-off value determined with GeNorm, the number of genes required for optimal normalization was four and included GAPDH, SDHA, HPRT and RPL32.
The geometric mean of GAPDH, HPRT, SDHA and RPL32 is recommended for accurate normalization of quantitative PCR data in BAL cells of horses with IAD treated with corticosteroids. If only one reference gene can be used, then GAPDH is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3039571  PMID: 21272375
12.  Assessment of mRNA and microRNA Stabilization in Peripheral Human Blood for Multicenter Studies and Biobanks 
Biomarker Insights  2010;5:95-102.
In this study we evaluate the suitability of two methods of RNA conservation in blood samples, PAXgene and RNAlater, in combination with variable shipping conditions for their application in multicenter studies and biobanking. RNA yield, integrity, and purity as well as levels of selected mRNA and microRNA species were analyzed in peripheral human blood samples stabilized by PAXgene or RNAlater and shipped on dry ice or at ambient temperatures from the study centers to the central analysis laboratory. Both examined systems were clearly appropriate for RNA stabilization in human blood independently of the shipping conditions. The isolated RNA is characterized by good quantity and quality and well suited for downstream applications like quantitative RT-PCR analysis of mRNA and microRNA. Superior yield and integrity values were received using RNAlater. It would be reasonable to consider the production and approval of blood collection tubes prefilled with RNAlater to facilitate the use of this excellent RNA stabilization system in large studies.
PMCID: PMC2956623  PMID: 20981139
RNA; PAXgene; RNAlater; biobank; marker; blood; pre-analytical variation
13.  A Case Study: Molecular Profiling of Breast Cancer from Formalin-Fixed, Archival Material — Gene Expression Profiles from FFPE Samples with Improved RNA Decrosslinking Technology 
We have developed a novel demodifaction/decrosslinking protocol for RNA recovery from archival (FFPE) material. The resulting FFPE RNA quality is superior to RNA obtained with other commercial FFPE RNA isolation kits: larger RNAs can be recovered, and RTqPCR data demonstrate less variability and lower Cq values. This FFPE RNA is suitable for differential gene expression measurement by qPCR, high concordance with parallel RNA samples from fresh frozen tissues was observed. Prognosis of breast cancer is determined by clinicopathological and molecular factors. We developed and validated molecular scores reflecting the hormone status (ER, PGR, HER2 scores) and the proliferation status (PRO score) of breast cancer cells. The scores can be combined to an overall RISK score. Molecular scores are independent prognostic parameters, they were validated in postmenopausal patients with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. Multivariate analysis revealed that PRO and RISK scores outperform conventional parameters (histological grading and Ki-67 labeling index). Molecular scores are based on routine pathological material, testing can be implemented easily into routine diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC3186462
14.  HPRT Deficiency Coordinately Dysregulates Canonical Wnt and Presenilin-1 Signaling: A Neuro-Developmental Regulatory Role for a Housekeeping Gene? 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16572.
We have used microarray-based methods of global gene expression together with quantitative PCR and Western blot analysis to identify dysregulation of genes and aberrant cellular processes in human fibroblasts and in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells made HPRT-deficient by transduction with a retrovirus stably expressing an shRNA targeted against HPRT. Analysis of the microarray expression data by Gene ontology (GO) and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) as well as significant pathway analysis by GeneSpring GX10 and Panther Classification System reveal that HPRT deficiency is accompanied by aberrations in a variety of pathways known to regulate neurogenesis or to be implicated in neurodegenerative disease, including the canonical Wnt/β-catenin and the Alzheimer's disease/presenilin signaling pathways. Dysregulation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway is confirmed by Western blot demonstration of cytosolic sequestration of β-catenin during in vitro differentiation of the SH-SY5Y cells toward the neuronal phenotype. We also demonstrate that two key transcription factor genes known to be regulated by Wnt signaling and to be vital for the generation and function of dopaminergic neurons; i.e., Lmx1a and Engrailed 1, are down-regulated in the HPRT knockdown SH-SY5Y cells. In addition to the Wnt signaling aberration, we found that expression of presenilin-1 shows severely aberrant expression in HPRT-deficient SH-SY5Y cells, reflected by marked deficiency of the 23 kDa C-terminal fragment of presenilin-1 in knockdown cells. Western blot analysis of primary fibroblast cultures from two LND patients also shows dysregulated presenilin-1 expression, including aberrant proteolytic processing of presenilin-1. These demonstrations of dysregulated Wnt signaling and presenilin-1 expression together with impaired expression of dopaminergic transcription factors reveal broad pleitropic neuro-regulatory defects played by HPRT expression and suggest new directions for investigating mechanisms of aberrant neurogenesis and neuropathology in LND and potential new targets for restoration of effective signaling in this neuro-developmental defect.
PMCID: PMC3030599  PMID: 21305049
15.  UBC and YWHAZ as suitable reference genes for accurate normalisation of gene expression using MCF7, HCT116 and HepG2 cell lines 
Cytotechnology  2011;63(6):645-654.
Relative quantification of in vitro gene expression using real-time PCR requires stably expressed reference gene for normalisation. In this study, total RNA from MCF7, HCT116 and HepG2 cells were extracted and converted to cDNA using commercially available kit, and real-time PCR was then performed to analyse the expression levels of twelve reference genes to select the most ideal reference gene for accurate normalisation in gene expression study. geNorm and NormFinder software were used to analyse the stabilities of the reference genes, which showed a wide range of Ct values. The geNorm analysis showed the following ranking for stability of genes: UBC, YWHAZ > RPLP > TBP > ACTB > HPRT1 > PPIA > GAPDH > GUSB > B2M > TUBB > RRN18S. A similar ranking of reference genes was obtained by NormFinder, and the four most stable reference genes were identical using both approaches. UBC and YWHAZ were proposed to be the two most suitable reference genes based on the above analyses. To further assess the stabilities of the UBC and YWHAZ in a formal experiment, MCF7, HCT116 and HepG2 cell lines were subjected to treatments with 5-aza-dC and TSA. Both UBC and YWHAZ exhibited stable expression levels across control and treatment groups. Therefore, we propose that UBC and YWHAZ are the two most suitable reference genes for our gene expression studies using MCF7, HCT116 and HepG2 cell lines.
PMCID: PMC3217073  PMID: 21850463
Gene expression; Normalisation; Reference gene; Expression level; Expression stability; Real-time PCR
16.  Selection of Suitable Reference Genes for Normalization of Quantitative Real-Time PCR in Cartilage Tissue Injury and Repair in Rabbits 
When studying the altered expression of genes associated with cartilage regeneration by quantitative real-time RT-PCR (RT-qPCR), reference genes with highly stable expression during different stages of chondrocyte developmental are necessary to normalize gene expression accurately. Until now, no reports evaluating expression changes of commonly used reference genes in rabbit articular cartilage have been published. In this study, defects were made in rabbit articular cartilage, with or without insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) treatment, to create different chondrocyte living environments. The stability and intensity of the expressions of the candidate reference genes glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), 18S Ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA), cyclophilin (CYP), hypoxanthine phosphoribosyl transferase (HPRT1), and β-2-microglobulin (B2M) were evaluated. The data were analyzed by geNorm and NormFinder. B2M and 18S rRNA were identified to be suitable reference genes for rabbit cartilage tissues.
PMCID: PMC3509584  PMID: 23203068
reference gene; quantitative real-time PCR; cartilage tissue; geNorm; NormFinder
17.  Quantification of Gene Expression after Painful Nerve Injury: Validation of Optimal Reference Genes 
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience  2011;46(3):497-504.
Stably expressed housekeeping genes (HKGs) are necessary for standardization of transcript measurement by quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR). Peripheral nerve injury disrupts expression of numerous genes in sensory neurons, but the stability of conventional HKGs has not been tested in this context. We examined the stability of candidate HKGs during nerve injury, including the commonly used 18s ribosomal RNA (18s rRNA), β tubulin I (Tubb5) and β tubulin III (Tubb3), actin, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and hypoxanthine phosphoribosyl transferase 1 (HPRT1), and mitogen activated protein kinase 6 (MAPK6). Total RNA for cDNA synthesis was isolated from dorsal root ganglia of rats at 3, 7 and 21 days following either skin incision alone or spinal nerve ligation, after which the axotomized and adjacent ganglia were analyzed separately. Relative stability of HKGs was determined using statistical algorithms geNorm and NormFinder. Both analyses identified MAPK6 and GAPDH as the two most stable HKGs for normalizing gene expression for qRT-PCR analysis in the context of peripheral nerve injury. Our findings indicate that a priori analysis of HKG expression levels is important for accurate normalization of gene expression in models of nerve injury.
PMCID: PMC3273664  PMID: 21863315
Neuropathic pain; Gene expression; Nerve injury; Spinal nerve ligation; Quantitative Real time PCR; Housekeeping genes
18.  Validation of Endogenous Control Genes for Gene Expression Studies on Human Ocular Surface Epithelium 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e22301.
To evaluate a panel of ten known endogenous control genes (ECG) with quantitative reverse transcription PCR (qPCR), for identification of stably expressed endogenous control genes in the ocular surface (OS) epithelial regions including cornea, limbus, limbal epithelial crypt and conjunctiva to normalise the quantitative reverse transcription PCR data of genes of interest expressed in above-mentioned regions.
The lasermicrodissected (LMD) OS epithelial regions of cryosectioned corneoscleral buttons from the cadaver eyes were processed for RNA extraction and cDNA synthesis to detect genes of interest with qPCR. Gene expression of 10 known ECG—glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), beta actin (ACTB), peptidylprolyl isomerase (PPIA), TATA-box binding protein (TBP1), hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (HPRT1), beta glucuronidase (GUSB), Eucaryotic 18S ribosomal RNA (18S), phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK1), beta-2-microglobulin (B2M), ribosomal protein, large, P0 (RPLP0)—was measured in the OS epithelial regions by qPCR method and the data collected was further analysed using geNorm software.
The expression stability of ECGs in the OS epithelial regions in increasing order as determined with geNorm software is as follows: ACTB<18S
This study has identified stably expressed ECGs on the OS epithelial regions for effective qPCR results in genes of interest. The results from this study are broadly applicable to quantitative reverse transcription PCR studies on human OS epithelium and provide evidence for the use of PPIA-RPLP0 ECGs pair in quantitative reverse transcription PCR across the OS epithelium.
PMCID: PMC3152287  PMID: 21857920
BMC Molecular Biology  2007;8:113.
Fluorescent data obtained from real-time PCR must be processed by some method of data analysis to obtain the relative quantity of target mRNA. The method chosen for data analysis can strongly influence results of the quantification.
To compare the performance of six techniques which are currently used for analysing fluorescent data in real-time PCR relative quantification, we quantified four cytokine transcripts (IL-1β, IL-6 TNF-α, and GM-CSF) in an in vivo model of colonic inflammation. Accuracy of the methods was tested by quantification on samples with known relative amounts of target mRNAs. Reproducibility of the methods was estimated by the determination of the intra-assay and inter-assay variability. Cytokine expression normalized to the expression of three reference genes (ACTB, HPRT, SDHA) was then determined using the six methods for data analysis. The best results were obtained with the relative standard curve method, comparative Ct method and with DART-PCR, LinRegPCR and Liu & Saint exponential methods when average amplification efficiency was used. The use of individual amplification efficiencies in DART-PCR, LinRegPCR and Liu & Saint exponential methods significantly impaired the results. The sigmoid curve-fitting (SCF) method produced medium performance; the results indicate that the use of appropriate type of fluorescence data and in some instances manual selection of the number of amplification cycles included in the analysis is necessary when the SCF method is applied. We also compared amplification efficiencies (E) and found that although the E values determined by different methods of analysis were not identical, all the methods were capable to identify two genes whose E values significantly differed from other genes.
Our results show that all the tested methods can provide quantitative values reflecting the amounts of measured mRNA in samples, but they differ in their accuracy and reproducibility. Selection of the appropriate method can also depend on the design of a particular experiment. The advantages and disadvantages of the methods in different applications are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2235892  PMID: 18093344
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37517.
Analysis of gene expression at the mRNA level, using real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), mandatorily requires reference genes (RGs) as internal controls. However, increasing evidences have shown that RG expression may vary considerably under experimental conditions. We sought for an appropriate panel of RGs to be used in the 3T3-L1 cell line model during their terminal differentiation into adipocytes. To this end, the expression levels of a panel of seven widely used RG mRNAs were measured by qRT-PCR. The 7 RGs evaluated were ß-actin (ACTB), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), hypoxanthine phosphoribosyl-transferase I (HPRT), ATP synthase H+ transporting mitochondrial F1 complex beta subunit (ATP-5b), tyrosine 3-monooxygenase/tryptophan 5- monooxygenase activation protein, zeta polypeptide (Ywhaz), Non-POU-domain containing octamer binding protein (NoNo), and large ribosomal protein L13a (RPL).
Methodology/Principal Findings
Using three Excel applications, GeNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper, we observed that the number and the stability of potential RGs vary significantly during differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells into adipocytes. mRNA expression analyses using qRT-PCR revealed that during the entire differentiation program, only NoNo expression is relatively stable. Moreover, the RG sets that were acceptably stable were different depending on the phase of the overall differentiation process (i.e. mitotic clonal expansion versus the terminal differentiation phase). RPL, ACTB, and Ywhaz, are suitable for terminal differentiation, whereas ATP-5b and HPRT, are suitable during mitotic clonal expansion.
Our results demonstrate that special attention must be given to the choice of suitable RGs during the various well defined phases of adipogenesis to ensure accurate data analysis and that the use of several RGs is absolutely required. Consequently, our data show for the first time, that during mitotic clonal expansion, the most suitable RGs are ATP-5b, NoNo and HPRT, while during terminal differentiation the most suitable RGs are, NoNo, RPL, ACTB and Ywhaz.
PMCID: PMC3358259  PMID: 22629413
Analytical biochemistry  2008;380(1):137-139.
We examined a panel of 26 melanoma and fibroblast samples (tissues and cultured cells) to evaluate the suitability of two commonly used housekeeping genes, GAPDH and 18S rRNA, for quantitative real-time PCR. Both genes showed significant variations within the individual cell line and tissue groups. While no overall trends were observed in the expression of the 18S rRNA, GAPDH was up-regulated in melanoma tissue and cultured cells compared to the corresponding normal samples. In melanoma and fibroblast cell lines and tissues, absolute quantification appears to be more appropriate than normalizing mRNA expression via GAPDH or 18S rRNA housekeeping genes.
PMCID: PMC2515093  PMID: 18554498
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56296.
The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is considered a novel experimental animal model of non-human primates. However, due to antibody unavailability, immunological and pathological studies have not been adequately conducted in various disease models of common marmoset. Quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) is a powerful tool to examine gene expression levels. Recent reports have shown that selection of internal reference housekeeping genes are required for accurate normalization of gene expression. To develop a reliable qPCR method in common marmoset, we used geNorm applets to evaluate the expression stability of eight candidate reference genes (GAPDH, ACTB, rRNA, B2M, UBC, HPRT, SDHA and TBP) in various tissues from laboratory common marmosets. geNorm analysis showed that GAPDH, ACTB, SDHA and TBP were generally ranked high in stability followed by UBC. In contrast, HPRT, rRNA and B2M exhibited lower expression stability than other genes in most tissues analyzed. Furthermore, by using the improved qPCR with selected reference genes, we analyzed the expression levels of CD antigens (CD3ε, CD4, CD8α and CD20) and cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12β, IL-13, IFN-γ and TNF-α) in peripheral blood leukocytes and compared them between common marmosets and humans. The expression levels of CD4 and IL-4 were lower in common marmosets than in humans whereas those of IL-10, IL-12β and IFN-γ were higher in the common marmoset. The ratio of Th1-related gene expression level to that of Th2-related genes was inverted in common marmosets. We confirmed the inverted ratio of CD4 to CD8 in common marmosets by flow cytometric analysis. Therefore, the difference in Th1/Th2 balance between common marmosets and humans may affect host defense and/or disease susceptibility, which should be carefully considered when using common marmoset as an experimental model for biomedical research.
PMCID: PMC3581525  PMID: 23451040
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:215.
Biomedical researchers have long looked for ways to diagnose and treat cancer patients at the early stages through biomarkers. Although conventional techniques are routinely applied in the detection of biomarkers, attitudes towards using Real-Time PCR techniques in detection of many biomarkers are increasing. Normalization of quantitative Real-Time PCR is necessary to validate non-biological alteration occurring during the steps of RNA quantification. Selection of variably expressed housekeeping genes (HKs) will affect the validity of the data. The aim of the present study was to identify uniformly expressed housekeeping genes in order to use in the breast cancer gene expression studies. Urokinase Plasminogen Activator was used as a gene of interest.
The expression of six HKs (TFRC, GUSB, GAPDH, ACTB, HPRT1 and RPLP0) was investigated using geNorm and NormFinder softwares in forty breast tumor, four normal and eight adjacent tissues. RPLP0 and GAPDH revealed maximum M value, while TFRC demonstrated lowest M value.
In the present study the most and the least stable genes were TFRC and RPLP0 respectively. TFRC and ACTB were verified as the best combination of two genes for breast cancer quantification. The result of this study shows that in each gene expression analysis HKs selection should be done based on experiment conditions.
PMCID: PMC3141519  PMID: 21702980
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62462.
The study of uterine gene expression patterns is valuable for understanding the biological and molecular mechanisms that occur during embryo implantation. Real-time quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) is an extremely sensitive technique that allows for the precise quantification of mRNA abundance; however, selecting stable reference genes suitable for the normalization of qRT-PCR data is required to avoid the misinterpretation of experimental results and erroneous analyses. This study employs several mouse models, including an early pregnancy, a pseudopregnancy, a delayed implantation and activation, an artificial decidualization and a hormonal treatment model; ten candidate reference genes (PPIA, RPLP0, HPRT1, GAPDH, ACTB, TBP, B2M, 18S, UBC and TUBA) that are found in uterine tissues were assessed for their suitability as internal controls for relative qRT-PCR quantification. GeNormPLUS, NormFinder, and BestKeeper were used to evaluate these candidate reference genes, and all of these methods identified RPLP0 and GAPDH as the most stable candidates and B2M and 18S as the least stable candidates. However, when the different models were analyzed separately, the reference genes exhibited some variation in their expression levels.
PMCID: PMC3634797  PMID: 23638092
Attempts to develop a mechanistic understanding of the effects of environmental estrogens on fish are increasingly conducted at the level of gene expression. Appropriate application of real-time PCR in such studies requires the use of a stably expressed 'housekeeping' gene as an internal control to normalize for differences in the amount of starting template between samples.
We sought to identify appropriate genes for use as internal controls in experimental treatments with estrogen by analyzing the expression of eight functionally distinct 'housekeeping' genes (18S ribosomal RNA [18S rRNA], ribosomal protein l8 [rpl8], elongation factor 1 alpha [ef1a], glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase [g6pd], beta actin [bactin], glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase [gapdh], hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase 1 [hprt1], and tata box binding protein [tbp]) following exposure to the environmental estrogen, 17α-ethinylestradiol (EE2), in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). Exposure to 10 ng/L EE2 for 21 days down-regulated the expression of ef1a, g6pd, bactin and gapdh in the liver, and bactin and gapdh in the gonad. Some of these effects were gender-specific, with bactin in the liver and gapdh in the gonad down-regulated by EE2 in males only. Furthermore, when ef1a, g6pd, bactin or gapdh were used for normalization, the hepatic expression of two genes of interest, vitellogenin (vtg) and cytochrome P450 1A (cyp1a) following exposure to EE2 was overestimated.
Based on the data presented, we recommend 18S rRNA, rpl8, hprt1 and/or tbp, but not ef1a, g6pd, bactin and/or gapdh, as likely appropriate internal controls in real-time PCR studies of estrogens effects in fish. Our studies show that pre-validation of control genes considering the scope and nature of the experiments to be performed, including both gender and tissue type, is critical for accurate assessments of the effects of environmental estrogens on gene expression in fish.
PMCID: PMC1802086  PMID: 17288598

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