Human artificial chromosomes (HACs) provide a unique opportunity to study kinetochore formation and to develop a new generation of vectors with potential in gene therapy. An investigation into the structural and the functional relationship in centromeric tandem repeats in HACs requires the ability to manipulate repeat substructure efficiently. We describe here a new method to rapidly amplify human alphoid tandem repeats of a few hundred base pairs into long DNA arrays up to 120 kb. The method includes rolling-circle amplification (RCA) of repeats in vitro and assembly of the RCA products by in vivo recombination in yeast. The synthetic arrays are competent in HAC formation when transformed into human cells. As short multimers can be easily modified before amplification, this new technique can identify repeat monomer regions critical for kinetochore seeding. The method may have more general application in elucidating the role of other tandem repeats in chromosome organization and dynamics.
Yeast mutants lacking telomerase are capable of maintaining telomeres by an alternate mechanism that depends on homologous recombination. We show here, by using Kluyveromyces lactis cells containing two types of telomeric repeats, that recombinational telomere elongation generates a repeating pattern common in most or all telomeres in survivors that retain both repeat types. We propose that these patterns arise from small circles of telomeric DNA being used as templates for rolling-circle gene conversion and that the sequence from the lengthened telomere is spread to other telomeres by additional, more typical gene conversion events. Consistent with this, artificially constructed circles of DNA containing telomeric repeats form long tandem arrays at telomeres when transformed into K. lactis cells. Mixing experiments done with two species of telomeric circles indicated that all of the integrated copies of the transforming sequence arise from a single original circular molecule.
Rolling circle amplification (RCA) generates large single-stranded and tandem repeats of target DNA as amplicons. This technique was applied to in situ nucleic acid amplification (in situ RCA) to visualize and count single Escherichia coli cells carrying a specific gene sequence. The method features (i) one short target sequence (35 to 39 bp) that allows specific detection; (ii) maintaining constant fluorescent intensity of positive cells permeabilized extensively after amplicon detection by fluorescence in situ hybridization, which facilitates the detection of target bacteria in various physiological states; and (iii) reliable enumeration of target bacteria by concentration on a gelatin-coated membrane filter. To test our approach, the presence of the following genes were visualized by in situ RCA: green fluorescent protein gene, the ampicillin resistance gene and the replication origin region on multicopy pUC19 plasmid, as well as the single-copy Shiga-like toxin gene on chromosomes inside E. coli cells. Fluorescent antibody staining after in situ RCA also simultaneously identified cells harboring target genes and determined the specificity of in situ RCA. E. coli cells in a nonculturable state from a prolonged incubation were periodically sampled and used for plasmid uptake study. The numbers of cells taking up plasmids determined by in situ RCA was up to 106-fold higher than that measured by selective plating. In addition, in situ RCA allowed the detection of cells taking up plasmids even when colony-forming cells were not detected during the incubation period. By optimizing the cell permeabilization condition for in situ RCA, this method can become a valuable tool for studying free DNA uptake, especially in nonculturable bacteria.
Primer extension mutagenesis is a popular tool to create libraries for in vitro evolution experiments. Here we describe a further improvement of the method described by T.A. Kunkel using uracil-containing single-stranded DNA as the template for the primer extension by additional uracil-DNA glycosylase treatment and rolling circle amplification (RCA) steps. It is shown that removal of uracil bases from the template leads to selective amplification of the nascently synthesized circular DNA strand carrying the desired mutations by phi29 DNA polymerase. Selective RCA (sRCA) of the DNA heteroduplex formed in Kunkel's mutagenesis increases the mutagenesis efficiency from 50% close to 100% and the number of transformants 300-fold without notable diversity bias. We also observed that both the mutated and the wild-type DNA were present in at least one third of the cells transformed directly with Kunkel's heteroduplex. In contrast, the cells transformed with sRCA product contained only mutated DNA. In sRCA, the complex cell-based selection for the mutant strand is replaced with the more controllable enzyme-based selection and less DNA is needed for library creation. Construction of a gene library of ten billion members is demonstrated with the described method with 240 nanograms of DNA as starting material.
Recently, we developed a simple isothermal nucleic acid amplification reaction, primer generation-rolling circle amplification (PG-RCA), to detect specific DNA sequences with great sensitivity and large dynamic range. In this paper, we combined PG-RCA with a three-way junction (3WJ) formation, and detected specific RNA molecules with high sensitivity and specificity in a one-step and isothermal reaction format. In the presence of target RNA, 3WJ probes (primer and template) are designed to form a 3WJ structure, from which multiple signal primers for the following PG-RCA can be generated by repeating primer extension, nicking and signal primer dissociation. Although this signal primer generation is a linear amplification process, the PG-RCA exponentially can amplify these signal primers and thus even a very small amount of RNA specimen can be detected. After optimizing the structures of 3WJ probes, the detection limit of this assay was 15.9 zmol (9.55 × 103 molecules) of synthetic RNA or 143 zmol (8.6 × 104 molecules) of in vitro transcribed human CD4 mRNA. Further, the applicability of this assay to detect CD4 mRNA in a human mRNA sample was demonstrated.
We have used meiotic mapping techniques to locate the position of the repeating ribosomal DNA (rDNA) genes of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We found that the rDNA genes are located on the right arm of chromosome XII, approximately 45 map units centromere distal to the gene gal2. Together with mapping data from previous studies, this result suggests that the tandem array of rDNA genes contains at least two junctions with the non-rDNA of the yeast chromosome. In addition, we observed segregation patterns of the rDNA genes consistent with meiotic recombination within the rDNA gene tandem array in 3 of the 59 tetrads examined.
We describe conditions for producing uninterrupted expanded CTG repeats consisting of up to 2000 repeats using ϕ29 DNA polymerase. Previously, generation of such repeats was hindered by CTG repeat instability in plasmid vectors maintained in Escherichia coli and poor in vitro ligation of CTG repeat concatemers due to strand slippage. Instead, we used a combination of in vitro ligation and ϕ29 DNA polymerase to amplify DNA. Correctly ligated products generating a dimerized repeat tract formed substrates for rolling circle amplification (RCA). In the presence of two non-complementary primers, hybridizing to either strand of DNA, ligations can be amplified to generate microgram quantities of repeat containing DNA. Additionally, expanded repeats generated by rolling circle amplification can be produced in vectors for expression of expanded CUG (CUGexp) RNA capable of sequestering MBNL1 protein in cell culture. Amplification of dimerized expanded repeats (ADER) opens new possibilities for studies of repeat instability and pathogenesis in myotonic dystrophy, a neurological disorder caused by an expanded CTG repeat.
Fluorescent-sandwich immunoassays on microarrays hold appeal for proteomics studies, because equipment and antibodies are readily available, and assays are simple, scalable, and reproducible. The achievement of adequate sensitivity and specificity, however, requires a general method of immunoassay amplification. We describe coupling of isothermal rolling-circle amplification (RCA) to universal antibodies for this purpose. A total of 75 cytokines were measured simultaneously on glass arrays with signal amplification by RCA with high specificity, femtomolar sensitivity, 3 log quantitative range, and economy of sample consumption. A 51-feature RCA cytokine glass array was used to measure secretion from human dendritic cells (DCs) induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). As expected, LPS induced rapid secretion of inflammatory cytokines such as macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1β, interleukin (IL)-8, and interferon-inducible protein (IP)-10. We found that eotaxin-2 and I-309 were induced by LPS; in addition, macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC), soluble interleukin 6 receptor (sIL-6R), and soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor I (sTNF-RI) were induced by TNF-α treatment. Because microarrays can accommodat ~1,000 sandwich immunoassays of this type, a relatively small number of RCA microarrays seem to offer a tractable approach for proteomic surveys.
Some cancers utilize the recombination-dependent process of alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) to maintain long heterogeneous telomeres. Here, we studied the recombinational telomere elongation (RTE) of the Kluyveromyces lactis stn1-M1 mutant. We found that the total amount of the abundant telomeric DNA in stn1-M1 cells is subject to rapid variation and that it is likely to be primarily extrachromosomal. Rad50 and Rad51, known to be required for different RTE pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, were not essential for the production of either long telomeres or telomeric circles in stn1-M1 cells. Circles of DNA containing telomeric repeats (t-circles) either present at the point of establishment of long telomeres or introduced later into stn1-M1 cells each led to the formation of long tandem arrays of the t-circle's sequence, which were incorporated at multiple telomeres. These tandem arrays were extraordinarily unstable and showed evidence of repeated rounds of concerted amplification. Our results suggest that the maintenance of telomeres in the stn1-M1 mutant involves extreme turnover of telomeric sequences from processes including both large deletions and the copying of t-circles.
A simple isothermal nucleic-acid amplification reaction, primer generation–rolling circle amplification (PG–RCA), was developed to detect specific nucleic-acid sequences of sample DNA. This amplification method is achievable at a constant temperature (e.g. 60°C) simply by mixing circular single-stranded DNA probe, DNA polymerase and nicking enzyme. Unlike conventional nucleic-acid amplification reactions such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), this reaction does not require exogenous primers, which often cause primer dimerization or non-specific amplification. Instead, ‘primers’ are generated and accumulated during the reaction. The circular probe carries only two sequences: (i) a hybridization sequence to the sample DNA and (ii) a recognition sequence of the nicking enzyme. In PG–RCA, the circular probe first hybridizes with the sample DNA, and then a cascade reaction of linear rolling circle amplification and nicking reactions takes place. In contrast with conventional linear rolling circle amplification, the signal amplification is in an exponential mode since many copies of ‘primers’ are successively produced by multiple nicking reactions. Under the optimized condition, we obtained a remarkable sensitivity of 84.5 ymol (50.7 molecules) of synthetic sample DNA and 0.163 pg (∼60 molecules) of genomic DNA from Listeria monocytogenes, indicating strong applicability of PG–RCA to various molecular diagnostic assays.
We have previously shown that DNA circles containing telomeric repeats and a marker gene can promote the recombinational elongation of telomeres in Kluyveromyces lactis by a mechanism proposed to involve rolling-circle DNA synthesis. Wild-type cells acquire a long tandem array at a single telomere, while telomerase deletion (ter1-Δ) cells, acquire an array and also spread it to multiple telomeres. In this study, we further examine the factors that affect the formation and spread of telomeric tandem arrays. We show that a telomerase+ strain with short telomeres and high levels of subtelomeric gene conversion can efficiently form and spread arrays, while a telomere fusion mutant is not efficient at either process. This indicates that an elevated level of gene conversion near telomeres is required for spreading but that growth senescence and a tendency to elongate telomeres in the absence of exogenously added circles are not. Surprisingly, telomeric repeats are frequently deleted from a transforming URA3-telomere circle at or prior to the time of array formation by a mechanism dependent upon the presence of subtelomeric DNA in the circle. We further show that in a ter1-Δ strain, long tandem arrays can arise from telomeres initially containing a single-copy insert of the URA3-telomere sequence. However, the reduced rate of array formation in such strains suggests that single-copy inserts are not typical intermediates in arrays formed from URA3-telomere circles. Using heteroduplex circles, we have demonstrated that either strand of a URA3-telomere circle can be utilized to form telomeric tandem arrays. Consistent with this, we demonstrate that 100-nucleotide single-stranded telomeric circles of either strand can promote recombinational telomere elongation.
Like most other DNA sequencing core facilities, one of our continuing goals is to improve our sequence output without substantially adding to cost. To minimize sample-to-sample variability in template DNA concentration, we implemented the rolling circle amplification (RCA) procedure for preparing our DNA templates. In addition to saving time and reducing the number of steps in template DNA preparation, the RCA method has the potential to normalize the DNA concentration in samples that can be sequenced directly without additional purification. In the present study, we used RCA-generated templates to test a recently reported procedure that increased sequence quality by resuspending the sequenced products in low concentrations of agarose before capillary electrophoresis (CE) on a MegaBACE 1000 platform. Although we did not obtain the expected result using the specified procedure, a modification resulted in up to 60% increase in total sequence yield per sample plate. A combination of agarose and formamide-EDTA in the resuspension solution enabled us to generate long-read and high-quality sequences for more than 38,000 templates with minimal additional cost.
; Capillary electrophoresis DNA sequencing; rolling circle amplification; ion overloading; agarose resuspension; formamide-EDTA solution; electrokinetic injection
We introduce a label-free approach for sensing polymerase reactions on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) using a chelator-modified silicon-on-insulator field-effect transistor (SOI-FET) that exhibits selective and reversible electrical response to pyrophosphate anions. The chemical modification of the sensor surface was designed to include rolling-circle amplification (RCA) DNA colonies for locally enhanced pyrophosphate (PPi) signal generation and sensors with immobilized chelators for capture and surface-sensitive detection of diffusible reaction by-products. While detecting arrays of enzymatic base incorporation reactions is typically accomplished using optical fluorescence or chemiluminescence techniques, our results suggest that it is possible to develop scalable and portable PPi-specific sensors and platforms for broad biomedical applications such as DNA sequencing and microbe detection using surface-sensitive electrical readout techniques.
A flexible, non-gel-based single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) detection method is described. The method adopts thermostable ligation for allele discrimination and rolling circle amplification (RCA) for signal enhancement. Clear allelic discrimination was achieved after staining of the final reaction mixtures with Cybr-Gold and visualisation by UV illumination. The use of a compatible buffer system for all enzymes allows the reaction to be initiated and detected in the same tube or microplate well, so that the experiment can be scaled up easily for high-throughput detection. Only a small amount of DNA (i.e. 50 ng) is required per assay, and use of carefully designed short padlock probes coupled with generic primers and probes make the SNP detection cost effective. Biallelic assay by hybridisation of the RCA products with fluorescence dye-labelled probes is demonstrated, indicating that ligation-RCA (L-RCA) has potential for multiplexed assays.
Rolling circle amplification (RCA) of plasmid or genomic DNA using random hexamers and bacteriophage phi29 DNA polymerase has become increasingly popular in the amplification of template DNA in DNA sequencing. We have found that the mutant protein of single-stranded DNA binding protein (SSB) from Thermus thermophilus (Tth) HB8 enhances the efficiency of amplification of DNA templates. In addition, the TthSSB mutant protein increased the specificity of phi29 DNA polymerase. We have overexpressed the native and mutant forms of TthSSB protein in Escherichia coli and purified them to homogeneity. In vitro, these proteins were found to bind specifically to single-stranded DNA. Addition of TthSSB mutant protein to RCA halved the elongation time required for phi29 DNA polymerase to synthesize DNA fragments in RCA. Furthermore, the presence of the TthSSB mutant protein essentially eliminates nonspecific DNA products in RCA reactions.
Slx1 and Slx4 are subunits of a structure-specific DNA endonuclease that is found in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and other eukaryotic species. It is thought to initiate recombination events or process recombination structures that occur during the replication of the tandem repeats of the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) locus. Here, we present evidence that fission yeast Slx1-Slx4 initiates homologous recombination events in the rDNA repeats that are processed by a mechanism that requires Rad22 (Rad52 homologue) but not Rhp51 (Rad51 homologue). Slx1 is required to generate ∼50% of the spontaneous Rad22 DNA repair foci that occur in cycling cells. Most of these foci colocalize with the nucleolus, which contains the rDNA repeats. The increased fork pausing at the replication fork barriers in the rDNA repeats in a strain that lacks Rqh1 DNA helicase is further increased by expression of a dominant negative form of Slx1. These data suggest that Slx1-Slx4 cleaves paused replication forks in the rDNA, leading to Rad22-dependent homologous recombination that is used to maintain rDNA copy number.
Detection of plasmid DNA uptake in river bacteria at the single-cell level was carried out by rolling-circle amplification (RCA). Uptake of a plasmid containing the green fluorescent protein gene (gfp) by indigenous bacteria from two rivers in Osaka, Japan, was monitored for 506 h using this in situ gene amplification technique with optimized cell permeabilization conditions. Plasmid uptake determined by in situ RCA was compared to direct counts of cells expressing gfp under fluorescence microscopy to examine differences in detection sensitivities between the two methods. Detection of DNA uptake as monitored by in situ RCA was 20 times higher at maximum than that by direct counting of gfp-expressing cells. In situ RCA could detect bacteria taking up the plasmid in several samples in which no gfp-expressing cells were apparent, indicating that in situ gene amplification techniques can be used to determine accurate rates of extracellular DNA uptake by indigenous bacteria in aquatic environments.
The discovery of novel viruses has often been accomplished by using hybridization-based methods that necessitate the availability of a previously characterized virus genome probe or knowledge of the viral nucleotide sequence to construct consensus or degenerate PCR primers. In their natural replication cycle, certain viruses employ a rolling-circle mechanism to propagate their circular genomes, and multiply primed rolling-circle amplification (RCA) with φ29 DNA polymerase has recently been applied in the amplification of circular plasmid vectors used in cloning. We employed an isothermal RCA protocol that uses random hexamer primers to amplify the complete genomes of papillomaviruses without the need for prior knowledge of their DNA sequences. We optimized this RCA technique with extracted human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) DNA from W12 cells, using a real-time quantitative PCR assay to determine amplification efficiency, and obtained a 2.4 × 104-fold increase in HPV-16 DNA concentration. We were able to clone the complete HPV-16 genome from this multiply primed RCA product. The optimized protocol was subsequently applied to a bovine fibropapillomatous wart tissue sample. Whereas no papillomavirus DNA could be detected by restriction enzyme digestion of the original sample, multiply primed RCA enabled us to obtain a sufficient amount of papillomavirus DNA for restriction enzyme analysis, cloning, and subsequent sequencing of a novel variant of bovine papillomavirus type 1. The multiply primed RCA method allows the discovery of previously unknown papillomaviruses, and possibly also other circular DNA viruses, without a priori sequence information.
A clone containing centromere-associated DNA from Chironomus pallidivittatus was obtained by microdissection-microcloning. It hybridizes to the centromeric end of one chromosome and exclusively to regions in the three remaining, metacentric chromosomes to which centromeres have previously been localized on cytological grounds. In the metacentric positions the hybridization can be assigned to thin bands. The clone contains 155bp tandem repeats and short flanking regions represented in all of the centromeres. Titration experiments show that the four centromeres together contain 200kb of 155bp repeat per genome. In a line of tissue culture cells the amounts are increased by a factor 1.5-2, resulting in proportionately extended arrays of tandem repeats. Each repeat contains two invertrepeats surrounding a region containing only AT base pairs, a feature with some similarity to functionally essential elements in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae centromere.
We describe a method to monitor rolling-circle replication of circular oligonucleotides in dual-color and in real-time using molecular beacons. The method can be used to study the kinetics of the polymerization reaction and to amplify and quantify circularized oligonucleotide probes in a rolling-circle amplification (RCA) reaction. Modified molecular beacons were made of 2′-O-Me-RNA to prevent 3′ exonucleolytic degradation by the polymerase used. Moreover, the complement of one of the stem sequences of the molecular beacon was included in the RCA products to avoid fluorescence quenching due to inter-molecular hybridization of neighboring molecular beacons hybridizing to the concatemeric polymerization product. The method allows highly accurate quantification of circularized DNA over a broad concentration range by relating the signal from the test DNA circle to an internal reference DNA circle reporting in a distinct fluorescence color.
We present a new random array format together with a decoding scheme for targeted multiplex digital molecular analyses. DNA samples are analyzed using multiplex sets of padlock or selector probes that create circular DNA molecules upon target recognition. The circularized DNA molecules are amplified through rolling-circle amplification (RCA) to generate amplified single molecules (ASMs). A random array is generated by immobilizing all ASMs on a microscopy glass slide. The ASMs are identified and counted through serial hybridizations of small sets of tag probes, according to a combinatorial decoding scheme. We show that random array format permits at least 10 iterations of hybridization, imaging and dehybridization, a process required for the combinatorial decoding scheme. We further investigated the quantitative dynamic range and precision of the random array format. Finally, as a demonstration, the decoding scheme was applied for multiplex quantitative analysis of genomic loci in samples having verified copy-number variations. Of 31 analyzed loci, all but one were correctly identified and responded according to the known copy-number variations. The decoding strategy is generic in that the target can be any biomolecule which has been encoded into a DNA circle via a molecular probing reaction.
An average of 200 copies of the rRNA gene (rDNA) is clustered in a long tandem array in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. FOB1 is known to be required for expansion/contraction of the repeats by stimulating recombination, thereby contributing to the maintenance of the average copy number. In Δfob1 cells, the repeats are still maintained without any fluctuation in the copy number, suggesting that another, unknown system acts to prevent repeat contraction. Here, we show that condensin acts together with FOB1 in a functionally complemented fashion to maintain the long tandem repeats. Six condensin mutants possessing severely contracted rDNA repeats were isolated in Δfob1 cells but not in FOB1+ cells. We also found that the condensin complex associated with the nontranscribed spacer region of rDNA with a major peak coincided with the replication fork barrier (RFB) site in a FOB1-dependent fashion. Surprisingly, condensin association with the RFB site was established during S phase and was maintained until anaphase. These results indicate that FOB1 plays a novel role in preventing repeat contraction by regulating condensin association and suggest a link between replication termination and chromosome condensation and segregation.
Megasatellites are a new family of long tandem repeats, recently discovered in the yeast Candida glabrata. Compared to shorter tandem repeats, such as minisatellites, megasatellite motifs range in size from 135 to more than 300 bp, and allow calculation of evolutionary distances between individual motifs. Using divergence based on nucleotide substitutions among similar motifs, we determined the smallest distance between two motifs, allowing their subsequent clustering. Motifs belonging to the same cluster are recurrently found in different megasatellites located on different chromosomes, showing transfer of genetic information between megasatellites. In comparison, evolution of the few similar tandem repeats in Saccharomyces cerevisiae FLO genes mainly involves subtelomeric homologous recombination. We estimated selective constraints acting on megasatellite motifs and their host genes, and found that motifs are under strong purifying selection. Surprisingly, motifs inserted within pseudogenes are also under purifying selection, whereas the pseudogenes themselves evolve neutrally. We propose that megasatellite motifs propagate by a combination of three different molecular mechanisms: (i) gene duplication, (ii) ectopic homologous recombination and (iii) transfer of motifs from one megasatellite to another one. These mechanisms actively cooperate to create new megasatellites, that may play an important role in the adaptation of Candida glabrata to its human host.
Amino acid substitutions in the target enzyme Erg11p of azole antifungals contribute to clinically-relevant azole resistance in Candida albicans. A simple molecular method for rapid detection of ERG11 gene mutations would be an advantage as a screening tool to identify potentially-resistant strains and to track their movement. To complement DNA sequencing, we developed a padlock probe and rolling circle amplification (RCA)-based method to detect a series of mutations in the C. albicans ERG11 gene using "reference" azole-resistant isolates with known mutations. The method was then used to estimate the frequency of ERG11 mutations and their type in 25 Australian clinical C. albicans isolates with reduced susceptibility to fluconazole and in 23 fluconazole-susceptible isolates. RCA results were compared DNA sequencing.
The RCA assay correctly identified all ERG11 mutations in eight "reference" C. albicans isolates. When applied to 48 test strains, the RCA method showed 100% agreement with DNA sequencing where an ERG11 mutation-specific probe was used. Of 20 different missense mutations detected by sequencing in 24 of 25 (96%) isolates with reduced fluconazole susceptibility, 16 were detected by RCA. Five missense mutations were detected by both methods in 18 of 23 (78%) fluconazole-susceptible strains. DNA sequencing revealed that mutations in non-susceptible isolates were all due to homozygous nucleotide changes. With the exception of the mutations leading to amino acid substitution E266D, those in fluconazole-susceptible strains were heterozygous. Amino acid substitutions common to both sets of isolates were D116E, E266D, K128T, V437I and V488I. Substitutions unique to isolates with reduced fluconazole susceptibility were G464 S (n = 4 isolates), G448E (n = 3), G307S (n = 3), K143R (n = 3) and Y123H, S405F and R467K (each n = 1). DNA sequencing revealed a novel substitution, G450V, in one isolate.
The sensitive RCA assay described here is a simple, robust and rapid (2 h) method for the detection of ERG11 polymorphisms. It showed excellent concordance with ERG11 sequencing and is a potentially valuable tool to track the emergence and spread of azole-resistant C. albicans and to study the epidemiology of ERG11 mutations. The RCA method is applicable to the study of azole resistance in other fungi.
We have performed rolling-circle amplification (RCA) reactions on three DNA templates that differ distinctly in their topology: an unlinked DNA circle, a linked DNA circle within a pseudorotaxane-type structure and a linked DNA circle within a catenane. In the linked templates, the single-stranded circle (dubbed earring probe) is threaded, with the aid of two peptide nucleic acid openers, between the two strands of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). We have found that the RCA efficiency of amplification was essentially unaffected when the linked templates were employed. By showing that the DNA catenane remains intact after RCA reactions, we prove that certain DNA polymerases can carry out the replicative synthesis under topological constraints allowing detection of several hundred copies of a dsDNA marker without DNA denaturation. Our finding may have practical implications in the area of DNA diagnostics.