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Anal Biochem. 1991 Jan;192(1):11-6.

Nonradioactive detection of nucleic acid by the universal probe system.

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Institute for Biotechnology Research, Wakunaga Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Hiroshima, Japan.


A convenient and nonradioactive method for DNA hybridization tests termed the "Universal probe system" has been developed. This method is based on the principle of sandwich hybridization. This system consists of two single-stranded DNA probes (a primary probe and a biotin-labeled secondary probe). The primary probe is prepared from a chimeric phage-plasmid vector containing the complementary sequence to a target gene. The secondary probe has a sequence complementary to the vector portion of the primary probe and is labeled with biotin via the transamination reaction. An advantage of this method is that the single-stranded primary probe can be prepared with ease by using the chimeric phage-plasmid vector system, thereby avoiding tedious labeling of individually different probes. As the primary probe is not modified with biotin and other labels, it conserves the sequence to be hybridized with a target. Accordingly, the primary probe containing a relatively short hybridizing region (ca. 50 bp) can efficiently hybridize with the target. In fact, the universal probe is sensitive enough to detect a single-copy human gene on Southern blots.

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