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1.  SPIDIA-RNA: Second External Quality Assessment for the Pre-Analytical Phase of Blood Samples Used for RNA Based Analyses 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112293.
One purpose of the EC funded project, SPIDIA, is to develop evidence-based quality guidelines for the pre-analytical handling of blood samples for RNA molecular testing. To this end, two pan-European External Quality Assessments (EQAs) were implemented. Here we report the results of the second SPIDIA-RNA EQA. This second study included modifications in the protocol related to the blood collection process, the shipping conditions and pre-analytical specimen handling for participants. Participating laboratories received two identical proficiency blood specimens collected in tubes with or without an RNA stabilizer. For pre-defined specimen storage times and temperatures, laboratories were asked to perform RNA extraction from whole blood according to their usual procedure and to return extracted RNA to the SPIDIA facility for further analysis. These RNA samples were evaluated for purity, yield, integrity, stability, presence of interfering substances, and gene expression levels for the validated markers of RNA stability: FOS, IL1B, IL8, GAPDH, FOSB and TNFRSF10c. Analysis of the gene expression results of FOS, IL8, FOSB, and TNFRSF10c, however, indicated that the levels of these transcripts were significantly affected by blood collection tube type and storage temperature. These results demonstrated that only blood collection tubes containing a cellular RNA stabilizer allowed reliable gene expression analysis within 48 h from blood collection for all the genes investigated. The results of these two EQAs have been proposed for use in the development of a Technical Specification by the European Committee for Standardization.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112293
PMCID: PMC4226503  PMID: 25384019
2.  Targeted disruption of the mouse Csrp2 gene encoding the cysteine- and glycine-rich LIM domain protein CRP2 result in subtle alteration of cardiac ultrastructure 
Background
The cysteine and glycine rich protein 2 (CRP2) encoded by the Csrp2 gene is a LIM domain protein expressed in the vascular system, particularly in smooth muscle cells. It exhibits a bimodal subcellular distribution, accumulating at actin-based filaments in the cytosol and in the nucleus. In order to analyze the function of CRP2 in vivo, we disrupted the Csrp2 gene in mice and analysed the resulting phenotype.
Results
A ~17.3 kbp fragment of the murine Csrp2 gene containing exon 3 through 6 was isolated. Using this construct we confirmed the recently determined chromosomal localization (Chromosome 10, best fit location between markers D10Mit203 proximal and D10Mit150 central). A gene disruption cassette was cloned into exon 4 and a mouse strain lacking functional Csrp2 was generated. Mice lacking CRP2 are viable and fertile and have no obvious deficits in reproduction and survival. However, detailed histological and electron microscopic studies reveal that CRP2-deficient mice have subtle alterations in their cardiac ultrastructure. In these mice, the cardiomyocytes display a slight increase in their thickness, indicating moderate hypertrophy at the cellular level. Although the expression of several intercalated disc-associated proteins such as β-catenin, N-RAP and connexin-43 were not affected in these mice, the distribution of respective proteins was changed within heart tissue.
Conclusion
We conclude that the lack of CRP2 is associated with alterations in cardiomyocyte thickness and hypertrophy.
doi:10.1186/1471-213X-8-80
PMCID: PMC2529283  PMID: 18713466

Results 1-2 (2)