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Hum Pathol. 2004 Apr;35(4):482-7.

Microdissection genotyping of archival fixative treated tissue for Gaucher disease.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


The genetic diagnosis of Gaucher disease by molecular methods is complicated by the existence of a highly homologous transcribed pseudogene (96% identity) that is found in close proximity to the true gene on chromosome 1q21. In addition, the pseudogene sequence can mimic disease-causing mutations in the true gene. Selective polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the true gene can be accomplished in extracted DNA from fresh-frozen samples by designing oligonucleotide primers to hybridize to defined regions that are not present in the pseudogene. This standard molecular approach, which entails amplification of relatively long segments of intact DNA, is not feasible in archival, paraffin-embedded, solid-tissue specimens in which the negative effects of chemical fixation result in DNA strand scission and breakdown of nucleic acid. A novel approach, specifically created for use with archival, fixative-treated tissue specimens, was developed for detection and characterization of common mutations of Gaucher disease. Three separate robust PCR reactions were formulated, 2 for selective amplification of portions of only the true gene exons 2 and 9, with a third reaction targeting exon 10, wherein both the true and pseudogene were coamplified. In the latter, DNA sequencing was used to determine the presence of true and pseudogene allele content in addition to identification of base sequence alterations. This method, requiring a single, 4-microm-thick histologic section, was successfully applied to archival paraffin block tissue specimens that had been in storage for up to 75 years. It was capable of accurately genotyping common Gaucher disease mutations as well as discovering a novel mutation and genetic polymorphism. We recommend our approach when only fixative-treated tis sue is available for molecular genotyping.

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