Molecular Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 409 Views Jan 5, 2024

Fusarium oxysporum can cause many important plant diseases worldwide, such as crown rot, wilt, and root rot. During the development of strawberry crown rot, this pathogenic fungus spreads from the mother plant to the strawberry seedling through the stolon, with obvious characteristics of latent infection. Therefore, the rapid and timely detection of F. oxysporum can significantly help achieve effective disease management. Here, we present a protocol for the recombinase polymerase amplification– lateral flow dipstick (RPA–LFD) detection technique for the rapid detection of F. oxysporum on strawberry, which only takes half an hour. A significant advantage of our RPA–LFD technique is the elimination of the involvement of professional teams and laboratories, which qualifies it for field detection. We test this protocol directly on plant samples with suspected infection by F. oxysporum in the field and greenhouse. It is worth noting that this protocol can quickly, sensitively, and specifically detect F. oxysporum in soils and plants including strawberry.

Key features

• This protocol is used to detect whether plants such as strawberry are infected with F. oxysporum.

• This protocol has potential for application in portable nucleic acid detection.

• It can complete the detection of samples in the field within 30 min.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 364 Views Sep 5, 2023

In the field of molecular genetics, DNA extraction protocols and kits are sample-specific and proprietary, preventing lateral distribution among similar facilities from different sectors to alleviate supply shortages during a crisis. Expanding upon previous fast extraction protocols such as alkaline- and detergent-based ones, the use of boiling-hot water to rupture cells, virions, and nuclei, as proposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, might alleviate shortages and costs. Different soft, relatively abundant (highly enriched), and uncomplicated (genomically homogenous and with few inhibitors) biosamples are collected in 1.5 mL tubes, mixed with boiling-hot water, and stirred vigorously, so as to have membranes lysed and proteins deactivated; mechanical disruption may be used as well if necessary. Incubation in boiling water bath for 20–30 min follows. Depending on sample type and quantity, which affects the total extraction volume, 2–5 μL are pipetted off for direct PCR and the same volume for two decimal serial dilutions. The latter are intended to optimize the crude extract to a workable DNA/inhibitor concentration balance for direct PCR. Uncomplicated, highly enriched samples such as mycelial growth in fruits and human swab samples can be processed, contrary to complicated samples such as blood and physically unyielding samples such as plant tissue. The extract can be used for immediate PCR in both benchtop and portable thermocyclers, thus allowing nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) being performed in resource-limited settings with low cost and waste footprint or during prolonged crises, where supply chain failures may occur.

Key features

• DNA extraction from different sample types using only boiling water and occasional mechanical assistance.

• Crude extract serially diluted twice, 10- and 100-fold, to bypass purification and quantification steps.

• Direct PCR for 2–10 μL of crude lysate and dilutions (conditional to sample type and quantity) to enhance probability of workable DNA-inhibitors’ concentrations.

• Lowers the cost and curtails the overall footprint of testing to increase sustainability in field operations and in standard lab environments under supply chain derailment.

0 Q&A 406 Views Aug 5, 2023

High yield of good quality plasmid DNA from gram -ve bacteria (Agrobacterium tumefaciens, A. rhizogenes, and Rhizobium sp.) and gram +ve bacterium (Bacillus thuringiensis) is difficult. The widely used plasmid extraction kits for Escherichia coli yield a low quantity of poor-quality plasmid DNA from these species. We have optimized an in-house modification of the QIAprep Spin Miniprep kit protocol of Qiagen, consisting of two extraction steps. In the first, the centrifugation after adding neutralization buffer is followed by ethanol (absolute) precipitation of plasmid DNA. In the second extraction step, the precipitated DNA is dissolved in Tris-EDTA (TE) buffer, followed by an addition of 0.5 volumes of 5 M sodium chloride and 0.1 volumes of 20% (w/v) sodium dodecyl sulfate. After incubation at 65 °C for 15 min, the plasmid DNA is extracted with an equal volume of chloroform:isoamyl alcohol (CIA). RNase (20 mg/mL) is added to the upper phase retrieved after centrifugation and is incubated at 37 °C for 15 min. The extraction of the plasmid DNA with an equal volume of CIA is followed by centrifugation and is precipitated from the retrieved upper phase by adding an equal volume of absolute ethanol. The pellet obtained after centrifugation is washed twice with 70% (v/v) ethanol, air dried, dissolved in TE buffer, and quantified. This easy-to-perform protocol is free from phenol extraction, density gradient steps, and DNA binding columns, and yields high-quality plasmid DNA. The protocol opens an easy scale up to yield a large amount of high-quality plasmid DNA, useful for high-throughput downstream applications.

Key features

• The protocol is free from density gradient steps and use of phenol.

• The protocol is an extension of the QIAprep Spin Miniprep kit (Qiagen) and is applicable for plasmid DNA isolation from difficult-to-extract bacterial species.

• The protocol facilitates the direct transformation of the ligation product into Agrobacterium by skipping the step of E. coli transformation.

• The plasmids isolated are of sequencing grade and the method is useful for extracting plasmids for metagenomic studies.

Graphical overview

Overview of the plasmid isolation protocol (modified QIAprep Spin Miniprep kit) of the present study

0 Q&A 6046 Views Jun 5, 2020
We present a safe and low-cost method suitable for DNA extraction from mycelium and tree tissue samples. After sample preparation, the extraction takes about 60 min. Method performance was tested by extracting DNA from various tree tissue samples and from mycelium grown on solid and liquid media. DNA was extracted from juvenile and mature host material (Picea abies, Populus trichocarpa, Pseudotsuga menziesii) infected with different pathogens (Heterobasidion annosum, Heterobasidion parviporum, Leptographium wagenerii, Sphaerulina musiva). Additionally, DNA was extracted from pure cultures of the pathogens and several endophytic fungi. PCR success rate was 100% for young poplar material and fungal samples, and 48-72% for conifer and mature broadleaved plant samples. We recommend using 10-50 mg of fresh sample for the best results. The method offers a safe and low-cost DNA extraction alternative to study tree-fungus interactions, and is a potential resource for teaching purposes.
6 Q&A 9464 Views Oct 20, 2019
The purification of nucleic acids is one of the most common procedures employed in modern molecular biology laboratories. Typically, commercial column-based protocols are utilized to isolate DNA or RNA from various sources. However, these methods not only require specialized equipment, but are also extremely expensive for high-throughput applications. Although an elegant answer to this issue can be provided by paramagnetic beads, bead-based open-source protocols have been limited in the past. Here, we provide an easy to follow step-by-step manual for the synthesis of paramagnetic beads, as well as their functionalization with either a silica- or a carboxyl-surface that can be used to replace the commercial columns with self-made magnetic beads. Together with a variety of detailed protocols for their use in high-throughput nucleic acids extractions, this bead synthesis method forms the recently published open platform Bio-On-Magnetic-Beads (BOMB), which is available on PLOS Biology (Oberacker et al., 2019). Updated protocols can be found on the associated webpage (
0 Q&A 7349 Views Aug 5, 2018
Fusarium graminearum, the major causal agent of Fusarium head blight (FHB), causes serious wheat yield losses and a threat to human and animal health. The main efforts to combat the disease are the research of pathogenesis mechanisms and breeding for disease resistance plants. The efficiency of these actions could be evaluated by reliable inoculation assay, which is performed by accurate and repeatable inoculation methods. Hence, a standard procedure of effective wheat inoculation should improve the accuracy of pathogenicity evaluation. Here, we present a protocol for wheat spike inoculation with fungal conidial suspensions or fungus agar discs. These methods show highly reproducibility and accuracy on wheat infection experiment in laboratory conditions.
0 Q&A 16286 Views Jul 5, 2018
As the sister clade of seed plants, ferns are significant materials for plant phylogeny research. However, the genomic DNA extraction protocol for fern samples like modified CTAB method still lacks robustness. Here, we found that the amount and condition of the pinnae samples are critical for gDNA extraction in fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris L. In 500 μl CTAB solution, the recommended amount of pinnae is about 10-20 mg (2-3 pieces). The condition of the pinnae must be instantly-picked from a plant cultivated in a suitable environment. With these factors under control, it is highly reproducible to get the high-quality gDNA with low degradation rate
0 Q&A 9068 Views Jan 5, 2018
Since the first discovery of badnaviruses (family Caulimoviridae, genus Badnavirus) in yam (Dioscorea spp.) germplasm in the 1970s (Harrison and Roberts, 1973), several hundred partial badnavirus reverse transcriptase (RT)-ribonuclease H (RNaseH) sequences have been characterised (Kenyon et al., 2008; Bousalem et al., 2009), but only a few complete Dioscorea bacilliform virus (DBV) genome sequences have been reported (Phillips et al., 1999; Seal and Muller, 2007; Bömer et al., 2016 and 2017; Sukal et al., 2017; Umber et al., 2017). We have optimised a workflow involving total nucleic acid extractions and rolling circle amplification (RCA) combined with restriction enzyme analysis for the detection and amplification of DBVs present in yam germplasm. We have employed this approach successfully revealing three novel episomal yam badnaviruses (Bömer et al., 2016). We proposed this to be a complementary method to denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, which enables a rapid indication of badnavirus diversity as well as the identification of potentially integrated badnavirus sequences in the host genome (Turaki et al., 2017). Here, we describe the step-by-step protocol to screen yam germplasm for badnavirus infections using RCA as an efficient research tool in the amplification and characterization of novel badnavirus genomes.
4 Q&A 13438 Views Oct 20, 2017
This technique allows for efficient, highly purified cytoplasmic and nuclear-associated compartment fractionation utilizing NP-40 detergent in mammalian cells. The nuclear membrane is not disturbed during the fractionation thus leaving all nuclear and perinuclear associated components in the nuclear fraction. This protocol has been modified from Sambrook and Russell (2001) in order to downscale the amount of cells needed. To determine the efficiency of fractionation, we recommend using qPCR to compare the subcellular compartments that have been purified with equivalent amount of control whole cell extracts.
1 Q&A 10476 Views Feb 20, 2017
The plant phyllosphere, which represents all plant parts that are above the ground, is considered one of the most extensive ecosystems to be colonized by microorganisms, both at the surface as epiphytes or as endophytes within the plant. These plant-associated microbial communities are reservoirs of microbial diversity and they can be important for plant health. The characterization of microbial communities in diverse plants, such as Espeletia plants that are endemic to the Paramo ecosystem in the Andes Mountains, can shed light regarding possible interactions among microorganisms and microbial functional properties. Obtaining DNA from plant endophytic microbial communities involves various steps to ensure that samples are free of contamination from microorganisms present on the plant surface (epiphytes). Plant leaves are first surface sterilized, cut into pieces, homogenized using glass beads, and then used for DNA extraction using a commercially available kit. DNA samples are then quantified and analyzed using Qubit® 2.0 for use in PCR amplification of 16S rRNA genes.

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