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Prion. 2009 Jul-Sep;3(3):146-50. Epub 2009 Jul 23.

Allelic discrimination of genetic human prion diseases by real-time PCR genotyping.

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Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas, CIBERNED, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.


The complete molecular characterization of human genetic prion diseases from different backgrounds is important for clinical diagnosis and epidemiological classification. The characterization of the PRNP gene should always include the description of the pathogenic mutation, as well as the status at each allele of the polymorphic codon 129 (M129V), a well-established susceptibility marker and phenotypic variability factor for different types of human prion diseases. Indeed, the phenotypical expression of two of the most common mutations in the human PRNP gene associated with genetic prion diseases, D178N and E200K, is clearly modulated by the codon 129 polymorphism. Here, we describe two simple, fast, cost-effective and suited for high-throughput protocols to resolve cis-trans ambiguities between these mutations respect the M129V polymorphism. This methodology is based on differential amplification by allele-specific primers using Real-time PCR monitored by SYBR Green dye. The main advantages of these protocols are their relative simplicity and the reduced cost compared to other methods such as cloning protocols, and that it may be readily applicable to the characterization of other mutations with codon 129-dependent expression, e.g., P102L.

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