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Sci Rep. 2014 Aug 1;4:5921. doi: 10.1038/srep05921.

Kinetic hairpin oligonucleotide blockers for selective amplification of rare mutations.

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1] Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02453, USA [2] State Key Laboratory of Analog and Mixed-Signal VLSI, University of Macau, Macau, China.
Department of Biology, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02453, USA.


Detection of rare mutant alleles in an excess of wild type alleles is increasingly important in cancer diagnosis. Several methods for selective amplification of a mutant allele via the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) have been reported, but each of these methods has its own limitations. A common problem is that Taq DNA polymerase errors early during amplification generate false positive mutations which also accumulate exponentially. In this paper, we described a novel method using hairpin oligonucleotide blockers that can selectively inhibit the amplification of wild type DNA during LATE-PCR amplification. LATE-PCR generates double-stranded DNA exponentially followed by linear amplification of single-stranded DNA. The efficiency of the blocker is optimized by adjusting the LATE-PCR temperature cycling profile. We also demonstrate that it is possible to minimize false positive signals caused by Taq DNA polymerase errors by using a mismatched excess primer plus a modified PCR profile to preferentially enrich for mutant target sequences prior to the start of the exponential phase of LATE-PCR amplification. In combination these procedures permit amplification of specific KRAS mutations in the presence of more than 10,000 fold excess of wild type DNA without false positive signals.

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