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Epigenetics. 2009 May 16;4(4):231-4. Epub 2009 May 14.

Primer design versus PCR bias in methylation independent PCR amplifications.

Author information

1
Institute of Human Genetics, University of Aarhus, Aarhus C DK-8000, Denmark. wojdacz@humgen.au.dk

Abstract

Many protocols in methylation studies utilize one primer set to generate a PCR product from bisulfite modified template regardless of its methylation status (methylation independent amplification MIP). However, proportional amplification of methylated and unmethylated alleles is hard to achieve due to PCR bias favoring amplification of unmethylated relatively GC poor sequence. Two primer design systems have been proposed to overcome PCR bias in methylation independent amplifications. The first advises against including any CpG dinucleoteides into the primer sequence (CpG-free primers) and the second, recently published by us, is based on inclusion of a limited number of CpG sites into the primer sequence. Here we used the Methylation Sensitive High Resolution Melting (MS-HRM) technology to investigate the ability of primers designed according to both of the above mentioned primer design systems to proportionally amplify methylated and unmethylated templates. Ten "CpG-free" primer pairs and twenty primers containing limited number of CpGs were tested. In reconstruction experiments the "CpG-free" primers showed primer specific sensitivity and allowed us to detect methylation levels in the range from 5 to 50%. Whereas while using primers containing limited number of CpG sites we were able to consistently detect 1-0.1% methylation levels and effectively control PCR amplification bias. In conclusion, the primers with limited number of CpG sites are able to effectively reverse PCR bias and therefore detect methylated templates with significantly higher sensitivity than CpG free primers.

PMID:
19483476
DOI:
10.4161/epi.9020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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