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J Clin Virol. 2003 Apr;26(3):347-54.

Identification of parental origin of cognate dsRNA genome segment(s) of rotavirus reassortants by constant denaturant gel electrophoresis.

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Epidemiology Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Building 50, Room 6308, 50 South Drive MSC 8026, Bethesda, MD 20892-8026, USA.


Rotaviruses are the single most important etiologic agents of severe diarrhea in infants and young children worldwide. They possess a triple capsid morphology and a genome of 11 segments of double-stranded (ds) RNA. During the course of the development of various live, attenuated reassortant rotavirus vaccines, we often experienced difficulty in identifying the parental origin of certain genome segment(s) of a reassortant vaccine candidate. Various assays have been utilized for determination of the parental origin of reassortant virus genes, including polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), DNA and/or RNA hybridization assays and gene sequence analysis. The traditional PAGE is simple and easy to perform, however, it is common to find that certain cognate dsRNA segment(s) cannot be differentiated by this assay due to a high degree of sequence homology among different rotavirus strains. Constant denaturant gel electrophoresis (CDGE) is one of several methods that have been used to screen DNA fragments for small sequence changes or point mutations. By using the CDGE, we were successful in partially denaturing rotavirus dsRNA thereby changing the physical properties of the genome segment(s) in the gel and thus differentiating the cognate genome segment(s) of rotavirus reassortants. The CDGE provides a simple and reliable assay system for identification of parental gene origins of a rotavirus reassortant.

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