Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 1161 Views Nov 5, 2022

Aptamers have been selected with strong affinity and high selectivity for a wide range of targets, as recently highlighted by the development of aptamer-based sensors that can differentiate infectious from non-infectious viruses, including human adenovirus and SARS-CoV-2. Accurate determination of the binding affinity between the DNA aptamers and their viral targets is the first step to understanding the molecular recognition of viral particles and the potential uses of aptamers in various diagnostics and therapeutic applications. Here, we describe protocols to obtain the binding curve of the DNA aptamers to SARS-CoV-2 using Enzyme-Linked Oligonucleotide Assay (ELONA) and MicroScale Thermophoresis (MST). These methods allow for the determination of the binding affinity of the aptamer to the infectious SARS-CoV-2 and the selectivity of this aptamer against the same SARS-CoV-2 that has been rendered non-infectious by UV inactivation, and other viruses. Compared to other techniques like Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA), Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), and Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC), these methods have advantages for working with larger particles like viruses and with samples that require biosafety level 2 facilities.

0 Q&A 1297 Views Jun 5, 2022

Plant genomes are pronouncedly enriched in repeat elements such as transposons. These repeats are epigenetically regulated by DNA methylation. Whole genome high-depth sequencing after bisulfite treatment remains an expensive and laborious method to reliably profile the DNA methylome, especially when considering large genomes such as in crops. Here, we present a simple reproducible Southern hybridisation–based assay to obtain incontrovertible methylation patterns from targeted regions in the rice genome. By employing minor but key modifications, we reliably detected transposon copy number variations over multiple generations. This method can be regarded as a gold standard for validation of epigenetic variations at target loci, and the consequent proliferation of transposons, or segregation in several plant replicates and genotypes.

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0 Q&A 1179 Views May 20, 2022

Repeat expansion diseases, including fragile X syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and C9orf72-related motor neuron disease and frontotemporal dementia, are a group of disorders associated with polymorphic expansions of tandem repeat nucleotide sequences. These expansions are highly repetitive and often hundreds to thousands of repeats in length, making accurate identification and determination of repeat length via PCR or sequencing challenging. Here we describe a protocol for monitoring repeat length in Drosophila models carrying 1,000 repeat C9orf72-related dipeptide repeat transgenes using Southern blotting. This protocol has been used regularly to check the length of these lines for over 100 generations with robust and repeatable results and can be implemented for monitoring any repeat expansion in Drosophila.

0 Q&A 3210 Views Jan 20, 2022

ATAC-seq (assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with high-throughput sequencing) is a powerful method to evaluate chromatin accessibility and nucleosome positioning at a genome-wide scale. This assay uses a hyperactive Tn5 transposase, to simultaneously cut open chromatin and insert adapter sequences. After sequencing, the reads generated through this technique are generally indicative of transcriptional regulatory elements that are located in accessible chromatin. This method was originally developed by Buenrostro et al. (2013), and since then it has been improved by the same authors several times, until their last update called OMNI ATAC-seq (Corces et al., 2017). Here, we describe an ATAC-seq protocol based on the OMNI-ATAC method, with a special focus on the initial steps of thawing cryopreserved cells, and the final steps of library purification using magnetic beads. This protocol can be of interest for laboratories working in a fast-paced environment.

Graphic abstract:

Flowchart of the protocol

0 Q&A 2855 Views Dec 20, 2021

DNA replication always encounters numerous endogenous and exogenous stresses during the cell cycle. Measuring the cell responses to stress has primarily relied on cell survival and incorporation of radioactive dNTPs, which is limited in resolution. A higher resolution is required to monitor how replication and repair respond to these stresses. This protocol describes a procedure to monitor the length of new synthesized DNA in a single molecular resolution called DNA fiber assay. The fiber assay relies on labeling of nascent DNA with the nucleoside analog 5-Chloro-2'-deoxyuridine (CldU) and 5-Iodo-2'-deoxyuridine (IdU). We can visualize the labeled nascent DNA in single molecular resolution by immunostaining. By measuring labeled DNA length, the assay permits interrogation of replication speed at given conditions, end processing at the reversed fork, and fork restart after repair.

0 Q&A 3468 Views Apr 5, 2021

Chromatin, rather than plain DNA, is the natural substrate of the molecular machines that mediate DNA-directed processes in the nucleus. Chromatin can be reconstituted in vitro by using different methodologies. The salt dialysis method yields chromatin that consists of purified histones and DNA. This biochemically pure chromatin is well-suited for a wide range of applications. Here, we describe simple and straightforward protocols for the reconstitution of chromatin by stepwise salt dialysis and the analysis of the chromatin by the micrococcal nuclease (MNase) digestion assay. Chromatin that is reconstituted with this method can be used for efficient homology-directed repair (HDR)-mediated gene edited with the CRISPR-Cas9 system as well as for biochemical studies of chromatin dynamics and function.

0 Q&A 5109 Views Mar 5, 2020
The ability to rapidly assemble and prototype cellular circuits is vital for biological research and its applications in biotechnology and medicine. The Mammalian ToolKit (MTK) is a Golden Gate-based cloning toolkit for fast, reproducible and versatile assembly of large DNA vectors and their implementation in mammalian models. The MTK consists of a curated library of characterized, modular parts that can be assembled into transcriptional units and further weaved into complex circuits. These circuits are easily repurposed and introduced in mammalian cells by different methods.
0 Q&A 4361 Views Feb 20, 2020
Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 (hereafter Anabaena) is a model cyanobacterium to study nitrogen fixation, cellular differentiation and several other key biological functions that are analogous in plants. As with any other organism, many genes in Anabaena encode an essential life function and hence cannot be deleted, causing a bottleneck in the elucidation of its genomic function. Antisense RNA (asRNA) mediated approach renders the study of essential genes possible by suppressing (but not completely eliminating) expression of the target gene, thus allowing them to function to some extent. Recently, we have successfully implemented this approach using the strong endogenous promoter of the psbA1 gene (D1 subunit of Photosystem II) introduced into a high-copy replicative plasmid (pAM1956) to suppress the transcript level of the target gene alr0277 (encoding a sigma factor, SigJ/Alr0277) in Anabaena. This protocol represents an efficient and easy procedure to further explore the functional genomics, expanding the scope of basic and applied research in these ecologically important cyanobacteria.
0 Q&A 7720 Views Jul 20, 2019
The in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity of new metallodrugs either as Small Bioactive Molecules (SBAMs) or Conjugates of Metals with Drugs (CoMeDs) is evaluated by the micronucleus test and the Allium cepa assay, respectively. Fetal lung fibroblast cells (MRC-5), normal human corneal epithelial cells (HCEC) and immortalized human keratinocytes cells (HaCaT) were incubated with solutions of SBAMs or CoMeDs at their IC50 values for 48 h (the concentration of a compound which is required to inhibit the cells growth by 50% in relation to the non-treated cells). The micronucleus abundance percentage towards the corresponding one, of the non-treated cells indicates the in vitro genotoxicity of the formulations. The in vivo Allium cepa test comprises the exposing of the plant Allium cepa roots to an SBAMs or a CoMeDs solution for 48 h. The percentages of the mitotic index, the chromosome aberrations, the nuclear abnormalities and the presence of the micronucleus are calculated indicating the in vivo genotoxicity of the agent.
1 Q&A 19279 Views Jun 5, 2017
Genome stability is continuously challenged by a wide range of DNA damaging factors. To promote a correct DNA repair and cell survival, cells orchestrate a coordinated and finely tuned cascade of events collectively known as the DNA Damage Response (DDR). Ultra Violet (UV) rays are among the main environmental sources of DNA damage and a well recognized cancer risk factor. UV rays induce the formation of toxic cyclobutane-type pyrimidine dimers (CPD) and [6-4]pyrimidine-pyrimidone (6-4PP) photoproducts which trigger the activation of the intra-S phase cell cycle checkpoint (Kaufmann, 2010) aimed at preventing replication fork collapse, late origin firing, and stabilizing fragile sites (Branzei and Foiani, 2009). To monitor the activation of the intra-S phase checkpoint in response to UV type C (UVC) exposure, the DNA fiber assay can be used to analyse the new origin firing and DNA synthesis rate (Jackson et al., 1998; Merrick et al., 2004; Alfano et al., 2016). The DNA fiber assay technique was conceived in the 90s and then further developed through the use of thymidine analogues (such as CldU and IdU), which are incorporated into the nascent DNA strands. By treating the cells in sequential mode with these analogues, which can be visualized through specific antibodies carrying different fluorophores, it is possible to monitor the replication fork activity and assess how this is influenced by UV radiations or others agents.

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