Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
RNase Protection Assay (RPAs) is a highly sensitive and reproducible method of quantitating the levels of specific mRNA transcripts. The introduction of the commercially available Multiprobe RPAs allow comparing and quantifying the expression of up to different mRNA species in a single sample of 1-20 micrograms of total RNA. To generate probes which are not commercially available, we prepared highly specific probes by RT-PCR and nested PCR. Then, after ligation of a T7 promoter, another PCR was performed with a primer set consisting of a specific sense primer and antisense T7 primer. Only the antisense strand of the double stranded PCR-product contained the T7-promoter sequence on its 5' end, allowing in vitro transcription and internal labeling with [alpha-32]UTP. Probe concentration was determined in a scintillation counter and equal counts were introduced in the assay. In vitro transcription of the PCR generated probes resulted in radioactive probes with a very high specific activity, allowing simultaneous analysis of 70 different RNA samples. RPA could be performed under the same conditions as recommended for the commercially available probe sets, avoiding time consuming optimization of reaction conditions. Negative controls consisted of yeast RNA and sense RNA probes. Positive controls were single stranded templates, generated by asymmetric PCR. Dilution series revealed a high reproducibility and the potential of this technique to semi-quantitate mRNA in different RNA samples. In conclusion, probes may be generated by RT-PCR and nested PCR that will work with the commercially available Multiprobe RPAs. The high probe yield allows analysis of a great number of samples using the same set of probes with a high reproducibility.