New methods as alternative or corrective measures for the pitfalls and artifacts of reverse transcription and polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR) in cloning chimeric or antisense-accompanied RNA

Chengfu Yuan, Yongming Liu, Min Yang, D. Joshua Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

We established new methods for cloning cDNA ends that start with reverse transcription (RT) and soon proceed with the synthesis of the second cDNA strand, avoiding manipulations of fragile RNA. Our 3′-end cloning method does not involve poly-dT primers and polymerase chain reactions (PCR), is low in efficiency but high in fidelity and can clone those RNAs without a poly-A tail. We also established a cDNA protection assay to supersede RNA protection assay. The protected cDNA can be amplified, cloned and sequenced, enhancing sensitivity and fidelity. We report that RT product using gene-specific primer (GSP) cannot be gene- or strand-specific because RNA sample contains endogenous random primers (ERP). The gene-specificity may be improved by adding a linker sequence at the 5′-end of the GSP to prime RT and using the linker as a primer in the ensuing PCR. The strand-specificity may be improved by using strand-specific DNA oligos in our protection assay. The CDK4 mRNA and TSPAN31 mRNA are transcribed from the opposite DNA strands and overlap at their 3′ ends. Using this relationship as a model, we found that the overlapped sequence might serve as a primer with its antisense as the template to create a wrong-template extension in RT or PCR. We infer that two unrelated RNAs or cDNAs overlapping at the 5′- or 3′-end might create a spurious chimera in this way, and many chimeras with a homologous sequence may be such artifacts. The ERP and overlapping antisense together set complex pitfalls, which one should be aware of.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-960
Number of pages11
JournalRNA Biology
Volume10
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Keywords

  • Antisense
  • cDNA cloning
  • cDNA protection assay
  • Chiermic RNA
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Reverse transcription
  • RNA protection assay

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