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J Virol Methods. 1994 Dec;50(1-3):21-7.

Quantification of latent Mamestra brassicae nuclear polyhedrosis virus in M. brassicae insects using a PCR-scintillation proximity assay.

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School of Biological and Molecular Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Headington, UK.


A laboratory culture of Mamestra brassicae insects (MbLC) was found to harbour a latent baculovirus infection. The copy number of the occult MbNPV genome in both the MbLC larvae, and in a cell line derived from the fat body of MbLC was determined by the use of a rapid and convenient PCR-scintillation proximity assay (SPA). The SPA system relies on the use of fluomicrospheres (SPA beads) coated with acceptor molecules which are capable of binding radiolabelled ligands in solution. In the assay described, a biotinylated PCR primer is used and [3H]dNTPs are incorporated into the amplified DNA. The SPA beads are coated with streptavidin, and after binding the biotinylated primer, any amplified, radiolabelled DNA will activate the fluor. The amount of amplified DNA from the target sequence can then be directly quantified using a scintillation counter. The number of MbNPV genomes present in a persistently infected M. brassicae cell, as proposed by SPA, suggest between 13 and 20 copies of the viral genome may be present in individual fat body cells.

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