Proximity ligation assay (PLA) has been proven to be a robust protein detection method. The technique is characterized by high sensitivity and specificity, but the assay precision is probably limited by the PCR readout. To investigate this potential limitation and to improve precision, we developed a digital proximity ligation assay for protein measurement in fluids based on amplified single molecule detection. The assay showed significant improvements in precision, and thereby also detection sensitivity, over the conventional real-time PCR readout.
The purpose of this study was to draw conclusions from patient-reported experiences in two national surveys from Scandinavia with the intention of comparing treatment strategies and increasing our knowledge of factors that affect the experiences of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
A total of 2000 individuals in Sweden and 1300 in Norway were invited to complete postal surveys covering PD-related issues. Patient experiences of diagnostic procedures, symptom control, and follow-up in PD and the effects on symptom-related quality of life were collected. Pharmaceutical prescription data on anti-PD drugs and administrative data were collected from national registries.
The surveys were completed by 1553 (78%) of the Swedish cohort and 1244 (96%) of the Norwegian cohort. Only small differences were seen in disease duration and age distribution. Statistically as well as clinically significant differences in symptom control, diagnostic, and follow-up procedures, as well as in pharmacological treatment and impact on quality of life, were found between the national cohorts independent of disease duration.
Information from separate national surveys has the potential to increase our knowledge of patient experiences in PD and can be used to compare, evaluate, educate, and guide health care staff and administrators in optimizing health care for patients with the disease.
parkinson’s disease; diagnosis; follow-up; pharmaceutical prescription; quality of life; survey
Advanced ileocecal Crohn's disease (ICD) is characterized by strictures, inflammation in the enteric nervous system (myenteric plexitis), and a high frequency of NOD2 mutations. Recent findings implicate a role of NOD2 and another CD susceptibility gene, ATG16L1, in the host response against single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) viruses. However, the role of viruses in CD is unknown. We hypothesized that human enterovirus species B (HEV-B), which are ssRNA viruses with dual tropism both for the intestinal epithelium and the nervous system, could play a role in ICD.
We used immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization to study the general presence of HEV-B and the presence of the two HEV-B subspecies, Coxsackie B virus (CBV) and Echovirus, in ileocecal resections from 9 children with advanced, stricturing ICD and 6 patients with volvulus, and in intestinal biopsies from 15 CD patients at the time of diagnosis.
All patients with ICD had disease-associated polymorphisms in NOD2 or ATG16L1. Positive staining for HEV-B was detected both in the mucosa and in myenteric nerve ganglia in all ICD patients, but in none of the volvulus patients. Expression of the cellular receptor for CBV, CAR, was detected in nerve cell ganglia.
The common presence of HEV-B in the mucosa and enteric nervous system of ICD patients in this small cohort is a novel finding that warrants further investigation to analyze whether HEV-B has a role in disease onset or progress. The presence of CAR in myenteric nerve cell ganglia provides a possible route of entry for CBV into the enteric nervous system.
Control of the global epidemic tuberculosis is severely hampered by the emergence of drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains. Molecular methods offer a more rapid means of characterizing resistant strains than phenotypic drug susceptibility testing. We have developed a molecular method for detection of rifampicin-resistant M. tuberculosis based on padlock probes and magnetic nanobeads. Padlock probes were designed to target the most common mutations associated with rifampicin resistance in M. tuberculosis, i.e. at codons 516, 526 and 531 in the gene rpoB. For detection of the wild type sequence at all three codons simultaneously, a padlock probe and two gap-fill oligonucleotides were used in a novel assay configuration, requiring three ligation events for circularization. The assay also includes a probe for identification of the M. tuberculosis complex. Circularized probes were amplified by rolling circle amplification. Amplification products were coupled to oligonucleotide-conjugated magnetic nanobeads and detected by measuring the frequency-dependent magnetic response of the beads using a portable AC susceptometer.
The genomic revolution in oncology will entail mutational analyses of vast numbers of patient-matched tumor and normal tissue samples. This has meant an increased risk of patient sample mix up due to manual handling. Therefore, scalable genotyping and sample identification procedures are essential to pathology biobanks. We have developed an efficient alternative to traditional genotyping methods suited for automated analysis. By targeting 53 prevalent deletions and insertions found in human populations with fluorescent multiplex ligation dependent genome amplification, followed by separation in a capillary sequencer, a peak spectrum is obtained that can be automatically analyzed. 24 tumor-normal patient samples were successfully matched using this method. The potential use of the developed assay for forensic applications is discussed.
Many pathogenic mitochondrial DNA mutations are heteroplasmic, with a mixture of mutated and wild-type mtDNA present within individual cells. The severity and extent of the clinical phenotype is largely due to the distribution of mutated molecules between cells in different tissues, but mechanisms underpinning segregation are not fully understood. To facilitate mtDNA segregation studies we developed assays that measure m.3243A>G point mutation loads directly in hundreds of individual cells to determine the mechanisms of segregation over time. In the first study of this size, we observed a number of discrete shifts in cellular heteroplasmy between periods of stable heteroplasmy. The observed patterns could not be parsimoniously explained by random mitotic drift of individual mtDNAs. Instead, a genetically metastable, heteroplasmic mtDNA segregation unit provides the likely explanation, where stable heteroplasmy is maintained through the faithful replication of segregating units with a fixed wild-type/m.3243A>G mutant ratio, and shifts occur through the temporary disruption and re-organization of the segregation units. While the nature of the physical equivalent of the segregation unit remains uncertain, the factors regulating its organization are of major importance for the pathogenesis of mtDNA diseases.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a genetically heterogeneous clonal disorder characterized by two molecularly distinct self-renewing leukemic stem cell (LSC) populations most closely related to normal progenitors and organized as a hierarchy. A requirement for WNT/β-catenin signaling in the pathogenesis of AML has recently been suggested by a mouse model. However, its relationship to a specific molecular function promoting retention of self-renewing leukemia-initiating cells (LICs) in human remains elusive. To identify transcriptional programs involved in the maintenance of a self-renewing state in LICs, we performed the expression profiling in normal (n = 10) and leukemic (n = 33) human long-term reconstituting AC133+ cells, which represent an expanded cell population in most AML patients. This study reveals the ligand-dependent WNT pathway activation in AC133bright AML cells and shows a diffuse expression and release of WNT10B, a hematopoietic stem cell regenerative-associated molecule. The establishment of a primary AC133+ AML cell culture (A46) demonstrated that leukemia cells synthesize and secrete WNT ligands, increasing the levels of dephosphorylated β-catenin in vivo. We tested the LSC functional activity in AC133+ cells and found significant levels of engraftment upon transplantation of A46 cells into irradiated Rag2-/-γc-/- mice. Owing to the link between hematopoietic regeneration and developmental signaling, we transplanted A46 cells into developing zebrafish. This system revealed the formation of ectopic structures by activating dorsal organizer markers that act downstream of the WNT pathway. In conclusion, our findings suggest that AC133bright LSCs are promoted by misappropriating homeostatic WNT programs that control hematopoietic regeneration.
In this review, we discuss the latest targeted enrichment methods and aspects of their utilization along with second-generation sequencing for complex genome analysis. In doing so, we provide an overview of issues involved in detecting genetic variation, for which targeted enrichment has become a powerful tool. We explain how targeted enrichment for next-generation sequencing has made great progress in terms of methodology, ease of use and applicability, but emphasize the remaining challenges such as the lack of even coverage across targeted regions. Costs are also considered versus the alternative of whole-genome sequencing which is becoming ever more affordable. We conclude that targeted enrichment is likely to be the most economical option for many years to come in a range of settings.
targeted enrichment; next-generation sequencing; genome partitioning; exome; genetic variation
In this paper we investigate the hypothesis that long-term sulphate (SO42−) deposition has made peatlands a larger source of methyl mercury (MeHg) to remote boreal lakes. This was done on experimental plots at a boreal, low sedge mire where the effect of long-term addition of SO42− on peat pore water MeHg concentrations was observed weekly throughout the snow-free portion of 1999. The additions of SO42− started in 1995. The seasonal mean of the pore water MeHg concentrations on the plots with 17 kg ha−1 yr−1 of sulphur (S) addition (1.3±0.08 ng L−1, SE; n = 44) was significantly (p<0.0001) higher than the mean MeHg concentration on the plots with 3 kg ha−1 yr−1 of ambient S deposition (0.6±0.02 ng L−1, SE; n = 44). The temporal variation in pore water MeHg concentrations during the snow free season was larger in the S-addition plots, with an amplitude of >2 ng L−1 compared to +/−0.5 ng L−1 in the ambient S deposition plots. The concentrations of pore water MeHg in the S-addition plots were positively correlated (r2 = 0.21; p = 0.001) to the groundwater level, with the lowest concentrations of MeHg during the period with the lowest groundwater levels. The pore water MeHg concentrations were not correlated to total Hg, DOC concentration or pH. The results from this study indicate that the persistently higher pore water concentrations of MeHg in the S-addition plots are caused by the long-term additions of SO42− to the mire surface. Since these waters are an important source of runoff, the results support the hypothesis that SO42− deposition has increased the contribution of peatlands to MeHg in downstream aquatic systems. This would mean that the increased deposition of SO42− in acid rain has contributed to the modern increase in the MeHg burdens of remote lakes hydrologically connected to peatlands.
Genome rearrangements have important effects on bacterial phenotypes and influence the evolution of bacterial genomes. Conventional strategies for characterizing rearrangements in bacterial genomes rely on comparisons of sequenced genomes from related species. However, the spectra of spontaneous rearrangements in supposedly homogenous and clonal bacterial populations are still poorly characterized. Here we used 454 pyrosequencing technology and a ‘split mapping’ computational method to identify unique junction sequences caused by spontaneous genome rearrangements in chemostat cultures of Salmonella enterica Var. Typhimurium LT2. We confirmed 22 unique junction sequences with a junction microhomology more than 10 bp and this led to an estimation of 51 true junction sequences, of which 28, 12 and 11 were likely to be formed by deletion, duplication and inversion events, respectively. All experimentally confirmed rearrangements had short inverted (inversions) or direct (deletions and duplications) homologous repeat sequences at the endpoints. This study demonstrates the feasibility of genome wide characterization of spontaneous genome rearrangements in bacteria and the very high steady-state frequency (20–40%) of rearrangements in bacterial populations.
We developed a molecular diagnostic method for detection of RNA virus based on padlock probes and colorimetric readout. The feasibility of our approach was demonstrated by using detection of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus as a model. Compared with conventional PCR-based methods, our approach does not require advanced equipment, involves easier assay design, and has a sensitivity of 103 viral copies/ml. By using a cocktail of padlock probes, synthetic templates representing different viral strain variants could be detected. We analyzed 34 CCHF patient samples, and all patients were correctly diagnosed when the results were compared to those of the current real-time PCR method. This is the first time that highly specific padlock probes have been applied to detection of a highly variable target sequence typical of RNA viruses.
A tumor does not consist of a homogenous population of cancer cells. Therefore, to understand cancer, the tumor microenvironment and the interplay between the different cell types present in the tumor has to be taken into account, and how this regulates the growth and survival of the cancer cells. To achieve a full picture of this complex interplay, analysis of tumor tissue should ideally be performed with cellular resolution, providing activity status of individual cells in this heterogeneous population of different cell-types. In addition, in situ analysis provides information on the architecture of the tissue wherein the cancer cells thrive, providing information of the identity of neighboring cells that can be used to understand cell-cell communication. Herein we describe how padlock probes and in situ PLA can be used for visualization of nucleic acids and protein activity, respectively, directly in tissue sections, and their potential future role in personalized medicine.
PLA; Padlock probes; Tumor microenvironment; Personalized medicine; Diagnosis; Prognosis
Detection and identification of pathogens in environmental samples for biosecurity applications are challenging due to the strict requirements on specificity, sensitivity and time. We have developed a concept for quick, specific and sensitive pathogen identification in environmental samples. Target identification is realized by padlock- and proximity probing, and reacted probes are amplified by RCA (rolling-circle amplification). The individual RCA products are labeled by fluorescence and enumerated by an instrument, developed for sensitive and rapid digital analysis. The concept is demonstrated by identification of simili biowarfare agents for bacteria (Escherichia coli and Pantoea agglomerans) and spores (Bacillus atrophaeus) released in field.
We have developed an approach for simultaneous detection of individual endogenous protein modifications and mRNA molecules in single cells in situ. For this purpose we combined two methods previously developed in our lab: in situ proximity ligation assay for the detection of individual protein interactions and -modifications and in situ detection of single mRNA molecules using padlock probes. As proof-of-principle, we demonstrated the utility of the method for simultaneous detection of phosphorylated PDGFRβ and DUSP6/MKP-3 mRNA molecules in individual human fibroblasts upon PDGF-BB stimulation. Further we applied drugs disrupting the PDGFRβ signaling pathway at various sites to show that this combined method can concurrently monitor the molecular effect of the drugs, i.e. inhibition of downstream signaling from the targeted node in the signaling pathway. Due to its ability to detect different types of molecules in single cells in situ the method presented here can contribute to a deeper understanding of cell-to-cell variations and can be applied to e.g. pinpoint effector sites of drugs in a signaling pathway.
In this study we utilized padlock probes and rolling circle amplification as a mean to detect and study the replication of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) in cultured cells and in infected tissue. Porcine circovirus type 2 is a single-stranded circular DNA virus associated with several severe diseases, porcine circovirus diseases (PCVD) in pigs, such as postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome. The exact reason and mechanisms behind the trigger of PCV2 replication that is associated with these diseases is not well-known. The virus replicates with rolling circle replication and thus also exists as a double-stranded replicative form.
By applying padlock probes and rolling circle amplification we could not only visualise the viral genome but also discriminate between the genomic and the replicative strand in situ. The genomic strand existed in higher numbers than the replicative strand. The virus accumulated in certain nuclei but also spread into the cytoplasm of cells in the surrounding tissue. In cultured cells the average number of signals increased with time after infection.
We have developed a method for detection of both strands of PCV2 in situ that can be useful for studies of replication and in situ detection of PCV2 as well as of DNA viruses in general.
Targeted genome enrichment is a powerful tool for making use of the massive throughput of novel DNA-sequencing instruments. We herein present a simple and scalable protocol for multiplex amplification of target regions based on the Selector technique. The updated version exhibits improved coverage and compatibility with next-generation-sequencing (NGS) library-construction procedures for shotgun sequencing with NGS platforms. To demonstrate the performance of the technique, all 501 exons from 28 genes frequently involved in cancer were enriched for and sequenced in specimens derived from cell lines and tumor biopsies. DNA from both fresh frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsies were analyzed and 94% specificity and 98% coverage of the targeted region was achieved. Reproducibility between replicates was high (R2 = 0, 98) and readily enabled detection of copy-number variations. The procedure can be carried out in <24 h and does not require any dedicated instrumentation.
Alternative splicing creates diverse mRNA isoforms from single genes and thereby enhances complexity of transcript structure and of gene function. We describe a method called spliceotyping, which translates combinatorial mRNA splicing patterns along transcripts into a library of binary strings of nucleic acid tags that encode the exon composition of individual mRNA molecules. The exon inclusion pattern of each analyzed transcript is thus represented as binary data, and the abundance of different splice variants is registered by counts of individual molecules. The technique is illustrated in a model experiment by analyzing the splicing patterns of the adenovirus early 1A gene and the beta actin reference transcript. The method permits many genes to be analyzed in parallel and it will be valuable for elucidating the complex effects of combinatorial splicing.
Research suggests that visual impressions of natural compared with urban environments facilitate recovery after psychological stress. To test whether auditory stimulation has similar effects, 40 subjects were exposed to sounds from nature or noisy environments after a stressful mental arithmetic task. Skin conductance level (SCL) was used to index sympathetic activation, and high frequency heart rate variability (HF HRV) was used to index parasympathetic activation. Although HF HRV showed no effects, SCL recovery tended to be faster during natural sound than noisy environments. These results suggest that nature sounds facilitate recovery from sympathetic activation after a psychological stressor.
soundscape; nature sounds; environmental noise; skin conductance level; heart rate variability; stress recovery
The current arsenal of molecular tools for site-directed cleavage of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) is limited. Here, we describe a method for targeted DNA cleavage that requires only the presence of an A nucleotide at the target position. The procedure involves hybridization of a complementary oligonucleotide probe to the target sequence. The probe is designed to create a deliberate G:A mismatch at the desired position of cleavage. The DNA repair enzyme MutY glycosylase recognizes the mismatch structure and selectively removes the mispaired A from the duplex to create an abasic site in the target strand. Addition of an AP-endonuclease, such as Endonuclease IV, subsequently cleaves the backbone dividing the DNA strand into two fragments. With an appropriate choice of an AP-cleaving enzyme, the 3′- and 5′-ends of the cleaved DNA are suitable to take part in subsequent enzymatic reactions such as priming for polymerization or joining by DNA ligation. We define suitable standard reaction conditions for glycosylase/AP-cleaving enzyme (G/AP) cleavage, and demonstrate the use of the method in an improved scheme for in situ detection using target-primed rolling-circle amplification of padlock probes.
We developed and tested a ligase-based assay for simultaneous probing of core genome diversity and typing of methicillin resistance determinants in Staphylococcus aureus isolates. This assay uses oligonucleotide padlock probes whose two ends are joined through ligation when they hybridize to matching target DNA. Circularized probes are subsequently amplified by PCR with common primers and analyzed by using a microarray equipped with universal tag probes. Our set of padlock probes includes oligonucleotides targeting diagnostic regions in the mecA, ccrB, and ccrC genes of the SCCmec cassette in methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). These probes determine the presence and type of SCCmec cassettes (i.e., SCCmec types I to VI). Additional oligonucleotides interrogate a number of highly informative single nucleotide polymorphisms retrieved from a multilocus sequence typing (MLST) database. These latter probes enable the exploration of isolates' phylogenetic affiliation with clonal lineages of MRSA as revealed by MLST. The described assay enables multiplexed genotyping of MRSA based on a single-tube reaction. With a set of clinical isolates of MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (n = 66), 100% typeability and 100% accuracy were achieved. The assay described here provides valuable genotypic information that may usefully complement existing genotyping procedures. Moreover, the assay is easily extendable by incorporating additional padlock probes and will be valuable for the quick and cost-effective probing of large numbers of polymorphisms at different genomic locations, such as those ascertained through currently ongoing mutation discovery and genome resequencing projects.
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.
A subtyping assay for both the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) surface antigens of the avian influenza virus (AIV) has been developed. The method uses padlock probe chemistry combined with a microarray output for detection. The outstanding feature of this assay is its capability to designate both the HA and the NA of an AIV sample from a single reaction mixture. A panel of 77 influenza virus strains was tested representing the entire assortment of the two antigens. One hundred percent (77/77) of the samples tested were identified as AIV, and 97% (75/77) were subtyped correctly in accordance with previous examinations performed by classical diagnostic methods. Testing of heterologous pathogens verified the specificity of the assay. This assay is a convenient and practical tool for the study of AIVs, providing important HA and NA data more rapidly than conventional methods.
DNA microarrays serve to monitor a wide range of molecular events, but emerging applications like measurements of weakly expressed genes or of proteins and their interaction patterns will require enhanced performance to improve specificity of detection and dynamic range. To further extend the utility of DNA microarray-based approaches we present a high-performance tag microarray procedure that enables probe-based analysis of as little as 100 target cDNA molecules, and with a linear dynamic range close to 105. Furthermore, the protocol radically decreases the risk of cross-hybridization on microarrays compared to current approaches, and it also allows for quantification by single-molecule analysis and real-time on-chip monitoring of rolling-circle amplification. We provide proof of concept for microarray-based measurement of both mRNA molecules and of proteins, converted to tag DNA sequences by padlock and proximity probe ligation, respectively.
Structural variation is an important cause of genetic variation. Whole genome analysis techniques can efficiently identify copy-number variable regions but there is a need for targeted methods, to verify and accurately size variable regions, and to diagnose large sample cohorts. We have developed a technique based on multiplex amplification of size-coded selectively circularized genomic fragments, which is robust, cheaper and more rapid than current multiplex targeted copy-number assays.