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J Virol Methods. 2010 Dec;170(1-2):115-20. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2010.09.011. Epub 2010 Sep 21.

Novel application of Locked Nucleic Acid chemistry for a Taqman assay for measuring diverse human immunodeficiency virus type 1 subtypes.

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University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Department of Medicine, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA.


There remains a need for sensitive and cost-effective assays to monitor therapy in human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) infection. However, the genetic diversity of HIV poses difficulties for traditional real-time PCR assays that require long oligonucleotides probes. LNA™ probes may be useful in overcoming these limits to traditional probe design. A new application of LNA™ chemistry in a Taqman assay applicable to a wide range of HIV-1 subtypes is described. This assay, based on a 13-mer LNA™ probe that matches the majority of HIV-1 sequences in the Los Alamos database, exhibited a wide dynamic range (10(1)-10(7) copies of HIV DNA), high sensitivity (limit of detection of 1 copy of HIV DNA in 10(5) cells), and broad applicability to a range of HIV-1 subtypes (including A, B, C, D, F, H, B/C, and A/E CRFs). Using the LNA™ probe assay, HIV-1 DNA was detected in all dried blood spots (DBS) from treatment naïve HIV-1 positive Ugandan children, and HIV DNA levels significantly correlated with viral RNA levels in plasma (r=0.765, p<0.0001). This approach to Taqman probe design should be explored further for use in diagnosis and monitoring of HIV in resource-limited settings, especially where several subtypes co-circulate.

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