Molecular Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
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0 Q&A 2743 Views Oct 20, 2020
Eukaryote nuclear genomes predominantly replicate through multiple replication origins. The number of replication origins activated per chromosome during the S-phase duration may vary according to many factors, but the predominant one is replication stress. Several studies have applied different approaches to estimate the number and map the positions of the replication origins in various organisms. However, without a parameter to restrict the minimum of necessary origins, less sensitive techniques may suggest conflicting results. The estimation of the minimum number of replication origins (MO) per chromosome is an innovative method that allows the establishment of a threshold, which serves as a parameter for genomic approaches that map origins. For this, the MO can be easily obtained through a formula that requires as parameters: chromosome size, S-phase duration, and replication rate. The chromosome size for any organism can be acquired in genomic databanks (such as NCBI), the S-phase duration can be estimated by monitoring DNA replication, and the replication rate is obtained through the DNA combing approach. The estimation of MO is a simple, quick, and easy method that provides a new methodological framework to assist studies of mapping replication origins in any organism.
0 Q&A 3214 Views Sep 5, 2020
The RNA world hypothesis describes a scenario where early life forms relied on RNA to govern both inheritance and catalyze useful chemical reactions. Prior to the emergence of enzymes capable of replicating the RNA genome, a nonenzymatic replication process would have been necessary to initiate Darwinian Evolution. However, the one-pot nonenzymatic RNA chemical copying of templates with mixed-sequences is insufficient to generate strand products long enough to encode useful function. The use of alternate (RNA-like) genetic polymers may overcome hurdles associated with RNA copying, and further our understanding of nonenzymatic copying chemistry. This protocol describes the nonenzymatic copying of RNA templates into N3′→P5′ phosphoramidate DNA (3′-NP-DNA). We describe, in detail, the synthesis of 3′-amino-2′,3′-dideoxyribonucleotide monomers activated with 2-aminoimidazole (3′-NH2-2AIpddN), and their use in template-directed polymerization.
0 Q&A 7437 Views Jan 5, 2020
Simplicity, efficiency and versatility of the CRISPR/Cas system greatly contributed to its rapid use in a broad range of fields. Applications of unbiased CRISPR/Cas screenings are increasing and thus there is a growing need for unbiased and tailored CRISPR/Cas gRNA libraries. Conventional methods for gRNA library generation apply PCR and cloning techniques, thus coupling library diversity with distribution. Here, we provide additional technical expertise to apply our covalently-closed-circular synthesized (3Cs) gRNA library generation technology for the generation of high-quality CRISPR/Cas gRNA libraries. F1-origin of replication-containing plasmid DNA is transformed into CJ236 bacteria for single colony outgrow followed by M13KO7 bacteriophage superinfection for the production and preparation of circular dU-containing ssDNA. dU-ssDNA is annealed with homology- and gRNA-encoding DNA oligonucleotides for their T7 DNA polymerase-mediated extension to form hetero-duplexed CCC-dsDNA (3Cs-dsDNA). 3Cs-dsDNA is electroporated for the selected amplification of the newly synthesized, gRNA-containing strand. To remove wild-type plasmid remnants, the purified plasmid DNA is digested with restriction enzymes targeting the gRNA-placeholder sequence in the template DNA. Undigested plasmid is electroporated for the extraction of the final 3Cs gRNA library. Due to the absence of PCR amplification and conventional cloning steps, the 3Cs technology uncouples sequence diversity from sequence distribution, thereby generating gRNA libraries with near-uniform distribution in diversities being only limited by electroporation efficiencies.
0 Q&A 4688 Views Dec 5, 2019
In the context of precision medicine, the identification of novel biomarkers for the diagnosis of disease, prognosis, predicting treatment outcome and monitoring of treatment success is of great importance. The analysis of methylated circulating-cell free DNA provides great promise to complement or replace genetic markers for these applications, but is associated with substantial challenges. This is particularly true for the detection of rare methylated DNA molecules in a limited amount of sample such as tumor released hypermethylated molecules in the background of DNA fragments from normal cells, especially lymphocytes.

Technologies for the sensitive detection of DNA methylation have been developed to enrich specifically methylated DNA or unmethylated DNA using among other methods: enzymatic digestion, methylation-specific PCR (often combined with TaqMan like oligonucleotide probes (MethyLight)) and co-amplification at lower denaturation temperature PCR (COLD-PCR).

E-ice-COLD-PCR (Enhanced-improved and complete enrichment-COLD-PCR) is a sensitive method that takes advantage of a Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA)-containing oligonucleotide probe to block specifically unmethylated CpG sites allowing the strong enrichment of low-abundant methylated CpG sites from a limited quantity of input. E-ice-COLD-PCRs are performed on bisulfite-converted DNA followed by Pyrosequencing analysis. The quantification of the initially present DNA methylation level is obtained using calibration curves of methylated and unmethylated DNA. The E-ice-COLD-PCR reactions can be multiplexed, allowing the analysis and quantification of the DNA methylation level of several target genes. In contrast to the above-mentioned assays, E-ice-COLD-PCR will also perform in the presence of frequently occurring heterogeneous DNA methylation patterns at the target sites. The presented protocol describes the development of an E-ice-COLD-PCR assay including assay design, optimization of E-ice-COLD-PCR conditions including annealing temperature, critical temperature and concentration of LNA blocker probe followed by Pyrosequencing analysis.
0 Q&A 8779 Views Sep 20, 2017
The eukaryotic replisome is a multiprotein complex that duplicates DNA. The replisome is sculpted to couple continuous leading strand synthesis with discontinuous lagging strand synthesis, primarily carried out by DNA polymerases ε and δ, respectively, along with helicases, polymerase α-primase, DNA sliding clamps, clamp loaders and many other proteins. We have previously established the mechanisms by which the polymerases ε and δ are targeted to their ‘correct’ strands, as well as quality control mechanisms that evict polymerases when they associate with an ‘incorrect’ strand. Here, we provide a practical guide to differentially assay leading and lagging strand replication in vitro using pure proteins.
0 Q&A 9130 Views Mar 20, 2016
The basidiomycetous smut fungus Ustilago maydis (U. maydis) infects all aerial parts of its host plant maize (Zea mays L.). Infection is seen in the form of prominent tumorous symptoms after the establishment of a biotrophic interaction with the host, usually around 5-6 days after infection. The fungus colonizes the various developmentally distinct aerial organs at different stages of development. Formation of tumors is coupled with the induction of host cell division. Activation of cell division can be understood as a measure of DNA synthesis which is triggered to induce rapid divisions in host cell. This developed protocol helps in tracking tumor induction in U. maydis by monitoring of DNA synthesis in planta. Infected leaves were treated with 5-ethynyl-2-deoxyuridine (EdU) at several stages of infection in the seedling leaves and labeled. EdU incorporation in the S phase cells, was visualized by attaching a fluorescent tag and non-dividing maize nuclei were stained with propidium iodide (PI). This protocol helped to understand the tumor development in U. maydis by confocal laser scanning microscopy (Kelliher and Walbot, 2011; Redkar et al., 2015)
0 Q&A 8417 Views Aug 20, 2014
This protocol has been designed to measure the in-vitro DNA polymerization activity in crude cell extracts of the Antarctic bacterium Pseudomonas syrinagae Lz4W. This bacterium can grow at 4 °C with optimum growth rate at 22 °C. The slow growth rate of the bacterium observed at low temperature (4 °C) compared to higher temperature (22 °C) can be attributed to the reduced rate of DNA replication at low temperature. Here we describe a protocol which we have used to quantify the in vitro DNA polymerization of cell extracts at two different temperatures.
0 Q&A 10140 Views Jun 20, 2013
Trypanosome mitochondrial genome, known as Kinetoplast DNA (kDNA), is a massive network of interlocked DNA rings. The studies of kDNA replication and architecture are of major significance since kDNA is a valid drug target. However, DNA in procyclic trypanosomes can not be labeled with tracer concentrations of 3[H]-thymidine, possibly because they lack a high-affinity transporter for thymidine. Therefore, BrdU, a thymidine analog, has been used at high concentrations to study kDNA replication. However, the detection of BrdU with anti-BrdU antibody requires harsh conditions such as the acid or heat treatment to seperate double DNA strand, which affects the ability for other antibodies to bind as well as the morphology and ability for dyes that require dsDNA to bind efficiently. Instead, EdU (5-Ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine), a novel thymidine analog, can be used to study kDNA replication and cell proliferation with a simplified protocol. Detection of EdU is based on a click reaction, which is a copper (I) catalyzed reaction between an azide and an alkyne. This click reaction does not require DNA denaturation and it is multiplex compatible, such as other antibodies and dyes for cell cycle analyses. To visualize trypanosome replicating nuclear DNA and kDNA, EdU is added into the medium of cell culture and incubated for 0.5 h to 3 h and then detected by the following procedures.

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