Wolfgang M Schmidt

Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Vienna, Austria

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Publications (27)118.23 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary ataxias comprise a group of genetically heterogeneous disorders characterized by clinically variable cerebellar dysfunction and accompanied by involvement of other organ systems. The molecular underpinnings for many of these diseases are widely unknown. Previously, we discovered the disruption of Scyl1 as the molecular basis of the mouse mutant mdf, which is affected by neurogenic muscular atrophy, progressive gait ataxia with tremor, cerebellar vermis atrophy, and optic-nerve thinning. Here, we report on three human individuals, from two unrelated families, who presented with recurrent episodes of acute liver failure in early infancy and are affected by cerebellar vermis atrophy, ataxia, and peripheral neuropathy. By whole-exome sequencing, compound-heterozygous mutations within SCYL1 were identified in all affected individuals. We further show that in SCYL1-deficient human fibroblasts, the Golgi apparatus is massively enlarged, which is in line with the concept that SCYL1 regulates Golgi integrity. Thus, our findings define SCYL1 mutations as the genetic cause of a human hepatocerebellar neuropathy syndrome.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: To identify disease-specific changes in Stargardt disease (STGD) based on imaging with polarization-sensitive spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT) and to compare structural changes with those visible on blue light fundus autofluorescence (FAF) imaging. Methods: Twenty-eight eyes of 14 patients diagnosed with STGD were imaged using a novel high-speed, large-field PS-OCT system and FAF (excitation 488 nm, emission > 500 nm). The ophthalmoscopic phenotype was classified into three groups. ABCA4 mutation testing detected 15 STGD alleles, six of which harbor novel mutations. Results: STGD phenotype 1 (12 eyes) showed sharply delineated areas of absent RPE signal on RPE segmentation B-scans of PS-OCT correlating with areas of hypofluorescence on FAF. Adjacent areas of irregular fluorescence correlated with an irregular RPE segmentation line with absence of overlaying photoreceptor layers. Eyes characterized on OCT by a gap in the subfoveal outer segment layer (foveal cavitation) showed a normal RPE segmentation line on PS-OCT. Hyperfluorescent flecks on FAF in phenotype 2 STGD (8 eyes) were identified as clusters of depolarizing material at the level of the RPE. Distribution of flecks could be depicted on RPE elevation maps. An increased amount of depolarizing material in the choroid was characteristic for STGD Phenotype 3 (8 eyes). Conclusions: PS-OCT together with FAF identified characteristic patterns of changes in different stages of the disease. PS-OCT is a promising new tool for diagnosis and evaluation of future treatment modalities in STGD.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Investigative ophthalmology & visual science
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    ABSTRACT: Deficiency of β-1,4 mannosyltransferase (MT-1) congenital disorder of glycosylation (CDG), due to ALG1 gene mutations. Features in 9 patients reported previously consisted of prenatal growth retardation, pregnancy-induced maternal hypertension and fetal hydrops. Four patients died before 5 years of age, and survivors showed a severe psychomotor retardation. We report on 7 patients with psychomotor delay, microcephaly, strabismus and coagulation abnormalities, seizures and abnormal fat distribution. Four children had a stable clinical course, two had visual impairment, and 1 had hearing loss. Thrombotic and vascular events led to deterioration of the clinical outcome in 2 patients. Four novel ALG1 mutations were identified. Pathogenicity was determined in alg1 yeast mutants transformed with hALG1. Functional analyses showed all novel mutations representing hypomorphs associated with residual enzyme activity. We extend the phenotypic spectrum including the first description of deafness in MT1 deficiency, and report on mildly affected patients, surviving to adulthood. The dysmorphic features, including abnormal fat distribution and strabismus highly resemble CDG due to phosphomannomutase-2 deficiency (PMM2-CDG), the most common type of CDG. We suggest testing for ALG1 mutations in unsolved CDG patients with a type 1 transferrin isoelectric focusing pattern, especially with epilepsy, severe visual loss and hemorrhagic/thrombotic events.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · PEDIATRICS
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    ABSTRACT: Melanoma is a devastating skin cancer characterized by distinct biological subtypes. Besides frequent mutations in growth- and survival-promoting genes like BRAF and NRAS, melanomas additionally harbor complex non-random genomic alterations. Using an integrative approach, we have analysed genomic and gene expression changes in human melanoma cell lines (N=32) derived from primary tumors and various metastatic sites and investigated the relation to local growth aggressiveness as xenografts in immuno-compromised mice (N=22). Although the vast majority >90% of melanoma models harbored mutations in either BRAF or NRAS, significant differences in subcutaneous growth aggressiveness became obvious. Unsupervised clustering revealed that genomic alterations rather than gene expression data reflected this aggressive phenotype, while no association with histology, stage or metastatic site of the original melanoma was found. Genomic clustering allowed separation of melanoma models into two subgroups with differing local growth aggressiveness in vivo. Regarding genes expressed at significantly altered levels between these subgroups, a surprising correlation with the respective gene doses (>85% accordance) was found. Genes deregulated at the DNA and mRNA level included well-known cancer genes partly already linked to melanoma (RAS genes, PTEN, AURKA, MAPK inhibitors Sprouty/Spred), but also novel candidates like SIPA1 (a Rap1GAP). Pathway mining further supported deregulation of Rap1 signaling in the aggressive subgroup e.g. by additional repression of two Rap1GEFs. Accordingly, siRNA-mediated down-regulation of SIPA1 exerted significant effects on clonogenicity, adherence and migration in aggressive melanoma models. Together our data suggest that an aneuploidy-driven gene expression deregulation drives local aggressiveness in human melanoma.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Oncotarget
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    Preview · Dataset · Apr 2012
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    Preview · Dataset · Apr 2012
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment with angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitors favorably affects glucose metabolism and the development of diabetes mellitus by largely elusive mechanisms. To identify these mechanisms, we studied the effect of ACE-inhibition on gene expression in skeletal muscle, a primary target tissue for insulin in glucose homeostasis. A subject-blinded and analyst-blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted in nine healthy men. Two consecutive muscle biopsies were conducted before and 9 h after a single dose of either 10-mg ramipril (n=6) or placebo (n=3), (randomly allocated). Muscle ribonucleic acid was subjected to transcriptome profiling. In both ramipril-treated or placebo-treated individuals, the majority of genes with differential expression between the two time points belonged to the family of diurnally regulated genes, such as the NR1D1 and NR1D2 genes (nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group D, members 1 and 2) or members of the period homolog family (PER1-3). Ramipril significantly modulated the expression of other diurnally regulated genes, such as aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like (ARNTL), encoding aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator-like, a core component of the circadian clock (P=0.02). Concomitant attenuation of NR1D1 downregulation (-2.4-fold compared with -4.1-fold in placebo; P=0.04), a transcriptional repressor of ARNTL, supported the view that ramipril might modulate glucose homeostasis pathways involving the NR1D1 ARNTL axis. As circadian rhythms are deranged in patients who are diabetic, modulated expression of circadian clock genes by ramipril could explain the favorable metabolic effects of therapeutic ACE-inhibition.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Pharmacogenetics and Genomics
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    ABSTRACT: A large number of novel disease genes have been identified by homozygosity mapping and the positional candidate approach. In this study we used single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array-based, whole genome homozygosity mapping as the first step to a molecular diagnosis in the highly heterogeneous muscle disease, limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD). In a consanguineous family, both affected siblings showed homozygous blocks on chromosome 15 corresponding to the LGMD2A locus. Direct sequencing of CAPN3, encoding calpain-3, identified a homozygous deletion c.483delG (p.Ile162SerfsX17). In a sporadic LGMD patient complete absence of caveolin-3 on Western blot was observed. However, a mutation in CAV3 could not be detected. Homozygosity mapping revealed a large homozygous block at the LGMD2I locus, and direct sequencing of FKRP encoding fukutin-related-protein detected the common homozygous c.826 C>A (p.Leu276Ile) mutation. Subsequent re-examination of this patient's muscle biopsy showed aberrant α-dystroglycan glycosylation. In summary, we show that whole-genome homozygosity mapping using low cost SNP arrays provides a fast and non-invasive method to identify disease-causing mutations in sporadic patients or sibs from consanguineous families in LGMD2. Furthermore, this is the first study describing that in addition to PTRF, encoding polymerase I and transcript release factor, FKRP mutations may cause secondary caveolin-3 deficiency.
    Full-text · Article · May 2011 · European journal of medical genetics
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    Dataset: Figure S1
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    ABSTRACT: Expression of myogenic and human sarcoma biomarker genes in murine MD mixed sarcomas. To study whether mixed sarcomas from MD-mice express select human sarcoma-related genes (rhabdomyosarcoma-marker genes: Myog, Myl4, Igf2, Prox1, a fibrosarcoma gene: Vcan, and liposarcoma-related genes: Pparg, Myo1e, Hoxa5, Plau), we subjected RNA isolated from primary tumor samples as well as from tumor cell cultures to quantitative RT-PCR. The figure shows a heatmap representation of expression levels corresponding to human sarcoma-related genes, revealing high abundance of not only rhabdomyosarcoma (Rhabdo) marker genes but also of genes related to human fibrosarcoma (Fibro) and liposarcoma (Lipo) in both, primary sarcomas (A) and in vitro tumor cell cultures (B). (PDF)
    Preview · Dataset · Apr 2011
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    ABSTRACT: Albeit genetically highly heterogeneous, muscular dystrophies (MDs) share a convergent pathology leading to muscle wasting accompanied by proliferation of fibrous and fatty tissue, suggesting a common MD-pathomechanism. Here we show that mutations in muscular dystrophy genes (Dmd, Dysf, Capn3, Large) lead to the spontaneous formation of skeletal muscle-derived malignant tumors in mice, presenting as mixed rhabdomyo-, fibro-, and liposarcomas. Primary MD-gene defects and strain background strongly influence sarcoma incidence, latency, localization, and gender prevalence. Combined loss of dystrophin and dysferlin, as well as dystrophin and calpain-3, leads to accelerated tumor formation. Irrespective of the primary gene defects, all MD sarcomas share non-random genomic alterations including frequent losses of tumor suppressors (Cdkn2a, Nf1), amplification of oncogenes (Met, Jun), recurrent duplications of whole chromosomes 8 and 15, and DNA damage. Remarkably, these sarcoma-specific genetic lesions are already regularly present in skeletal muscles in aged MD mice even prior to sarcoma development. Accordingly, we show also that skeletal muscle from human muscular dystrophy patients is affected by gross genomic instability, represented by DNA double-strand breaks and age-related accumulation of aneusomies. These novel aspects of molecular pathologies common to muscular dystrophies and tumor biology will potentially influence the strategies to combat these diseases.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, a novel susceptibility locus for coronary artery disease (CAD) has been identified on chromosome 9p21.3, linked to the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1333049 G>C. However, the physiological mechanism through which this locus confers an increased CAD-risk is still unknown. The aim of the present case-control study was to test whether this chromosome 9p21.3 locus, represented by the rs1333049 variant, is associated with altered vasodilator resistance vessel function in healthy young volunteers. A total of 97 healthy male volunteers were screened for homozygous carriers of either the G- or the C-allele, the minor allele in European populations. Forearm blood flow (FBF) reactivity to acetylcholine (ACh) and glycerol trinitrate (GTN) was then studied in 10 C/C-genotype carriers compared with 10 control subjects harbouring the G/G-genotype. FBF responses to ACh and GTN were reduced in subjects homozygous for the C-allele of the rs1333049 SNP (P < 0.05). FBF reactivity to the highest dose of ACh and GTN was 95% and 74% lower when compared with control subjects with the G/G-genotype. Our study revealed a functional impairment in forearm artery vasodilator resistance in carriers of the rs1333049 C/C-genotype, thus providing evidence for a first physiological functional link underlying the genetic association of the 9p21.3 locus with an increased cardiovascular risk.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2010 · European Journal of Clinical Investigation
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    ABSTRACT: Lamina-associated polypeptide 2 alpha (LAP2 alpha) is a nucleoplasmic protein implicated in cell cycle regulation through its interaction with A-type lamins and the retinoblastoma protein. Mutations in lamin A/C and LAP2 alpha cause late onset striated muscle diseases, but the molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. To study the role of LAP2 alpha in skeletal muscle function and postnatal tissue homeostasis, we generated complete and muscle-specific LAP2 alpha knockout mice. Whereas overall muscle morphology, function, and regeneration were not detectably affected, the myofiber-associated muscle stem cell pool was increased in complete LAP2 alpha knockout animals. At molecular level, the absence of LAP2 alpha preserved the stem cell-like phenotype of Lap2 alpha(-/-) primary myoblasts and delayed their in vitro differentiation. In addition, loss of LAP2 alpha shifted the myofiber-type ratios of adult slow muscles toward fast fiber types. Conditional Cre-mediated late muscle-specific ablation of LAP2 alpha affected early stages of in vitro myoblast differentiation, and also fiber-type determination, but did not change myofiber-associated stem cell numbers in vivo. Our data demonstrate multiple and distinct functions of LAP2 alpha in muscle stem cell maintenance, early phases of myogenic differentiation, and muscle remodeling.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2010 · Stem Cells
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    ABSTRACT: To gain insight into microRNAs (miRNAs) involved in the regulation of the human innate immune response, we screened for differentially expressed miRNAs in circulating leukocytes in an in vivo model of acute inflammation triggered by Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) infusion. Leukocyte RNA was isolated from venous blood samples obtained from healthy male volunteers before and 4h after LPS-infusion. After fluorescence labeling, RNA samples were hybridized to microarrays containing capture probes for measuring the abundance of more than 600 human miRNAs. Target genes were predicted for differentially expressed miRNAs and then compared to changes in genome-wide expression levels, which had been established in a previous study. Data analysis revealed that five miRNAs consistently responded to LPS-infusion, four of which were down-regulated (miR-146b, miR-150, miR-342, and let-7g) and one was up-regulated (miR-143). The miR-150 and mir-342 response was confirmed by real-time PCR. By correlating to measured LPS-induced changes of the leukocyte transcriptome, we next searched for predicted target genes, whose stability might be under (co-) control by these miRNAs. We found that the rapid transcriptional activation during acute inflammation of select genes, such as the gene encoding interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 2 (IRAK2) might be facilitated by decreased levels of LPS-responsive miRNAs. The increased level of miR-143 might be associated with the pronounced down-regulation of the B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL2) gene expression during LPS endotoxemia, and could further be involved in the translational silencing of several other predicted inflammation-related target genes. This is the first in vivo study to demonstrate relative abundance of miRNA levels in peripheral blood leukocytes during acute LPS-induced inflammation. The miRNAs and their potential target genes identified herein contribute to the understanding of the complex transcriptional program of innate immunity initiated by pathogens.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2009 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
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    ABSTRACT: To gain insight into molecular mechanisms of anti-inflammatory effects of statins, we have studied global gene expression in circulating leucocytes in an in-vivo model of acute inflammation following statin administration. For this purpose, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study was conducted in six healthy male volunteers, who received simvastatin (80 mg/day), rosuvastatin (40 mg/day) or placebo before infusion of E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Leucocyte RNA isolated before and after statin treatment, and after LPS-infusion was subjected to GeneChip transcript profiling (n=42). Data analysis revealed that statins exert little effect on leucocyte gene expression. Statin-responsive genes included several immune response genes and the cholesterol efflux transporter (ABCA1). Rosuvastatin appeared to moderately downregulate expression of the genes encoding the inflammatory response proteins orosomucoid (ORM1) and interleukin 18 receptor accessory protein (IL18RAP). LPS-infusion induced a pronounced response of the leucocyte transcriptome, notably affecting transcripts related to immune regulation, cell proliferation and motility. While the majority of LPS-induced changes were not modulated by either statin, few select genes responded differently after statin treatment, such as the genes encoding the CD32 receptor (FCGR2A) or the protein geranylgeranyltransferase 1b subunit (PGGT1B). We found that few 'inflammatory' genes appeared to be moderately down regulated during rosuvastatin administration, such as the ORM1 or IL18RAP genes. The small number of statin-induced differences, both during treatment and after LPS-induced inflammation, however, suggests that statins might exert their anti-inflammatory action mainly at the posttranscriptional level rather than at the level of gene transcription.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2008 · Pharmacogenetics and Genomics
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    ABSTRACT: To identify epigenetically silenced cancer-related genes and to determine molecular effects of 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (Aza-dC) and/or trichostatin A (TSA) in multiple myeloma (MM), we analyzed global changes in gene expression profiles of three MM cell lines by microarray analysis. We identified up-regulation of several genes whose epigenetic silencing in MM is well known. However, much more importantly, we identified a large number of epigenetically inactivated cancer-related genes that are involved in various physiologic processes and whose epigenetic regulation in MM was unknown thus far. In addition, drug treatment of MM cell lines resulted in down-regulation of several MM proliferation-associated factors (i.e., MAF, CCND1/2, MYC, FGFR3, MMSET). Ten Aza-dC and/or TSA up-regulated genes (CPEB1, CD9, GJA1, BCL7c, GADD45G, AKAP12, TFPI2, CCNA1, SPARC, and BNIP3) were selected for methylation analysis in six MM cell lines, 24 samples from patients with monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), and 111 samples from patients with MM. Methylation frequencies of these genes ranged between 0% and 17% in MGUS samples and between 5% and 50% in MM samples. Interestingly, methylation of SPARC and BNIP3 was statistically significantly associated with a poor overall survival of MM patients (P = 0.003 and P = 0.017, respectively). Moreover, SPARC methylation was associated with loss of SPARC protein expression by immunostaining in a subset of MM patients. In conclusion, we identified new targets for aberrant methylation in monoclonal gammopathies, and our results suggest that DNA methyltransferase and histone deacetylase inhibition might play an important role in the future treatment of patients with MM.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2008 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic silencing is a prominent feature of cancer. Here, we investigated the expression of DNA demethylase and three DNA methyltransferases during colorectal tumorigenesis comparing the genes encoding DNA methyltransferases 1 (DNMT1), 3A, and 3B (DNMT3A and DNMT3B) with methyl-CpG binding domain protein 2 (MBD2), recently described as the only active DNA demethylase. Total RNA isolated from normal colonic mucosa (n = 24), benign adenomas (n = 18), and malignant colorectal carcinomas (n = 32) was analyzed by reverse transcriptase-PCR with subsequent quantification by capillary gel electrophoresis. In contrast to MBD2, expression of DNMT1 and DNMT3A increased in parallel to the degree of dysplasia, with significant overexpression in the malignant lesion when compared with mucosa or with benign lesions (DNMT1). Pairwise comparisons between tumors and matched, adjacent healthy mucosa tissue (n = 13) revealed that expression of all three genes encoding DNA methyltransferases increased by two- to three-fold. Our data suggest a relevant role of the DNA methyltransferases during colorectal tumorigenesis. This increase is not counterbalanced by enhanced expression of the demethylating component MBD2. As a consequence, epigenetic regulation in the adenoma-carcinoma sequence may be driven by increased methylating activity rather than suppressed demethylation.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2007 · Molecular Carcinogenesis
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    ABSTRACT: Here, we show that the murine neurodegenerative disease mdf (autosomal recessive mouse mutant 'muscle deficient') is caused by a loss-of-function mutation in Scyl1, disrupting the expression of N-terminal kinase-like protein, an evolutionarily conserved putative component of the nucleocytoplasmic transport machinery. Scyl1 is prominently expressed in neurons, and enriched at central nervous system synapses and neuromuscular junctions. We show that the pathology of mdf comprises cerebellar atrophy, Purkinje cell loss and optic nerve atrophy, and therefore defines a new animal model for neurodegenerative diseases with cerebellar involvement in humans.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2007 · EMBO Reports

  • No preview · Article · Jun 2007 · Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
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    ABSTRACT: Human mannose-binding lectin, encoded by the MBL2 gene, is an important component of innate immunity and an important regulator of inflammatory processes. MBL2 gene polymorphisms are associated with an increased risk of neonatal infections and some data suggest a relation between the maternal MBL2 genotype and the risk of premature delivery. In this study, we evaluated whether there is an association between the fetal MBL2 genotype and prematurity. A microarray-based on-chip PCR method was used to simultaneously detect five common MBL2 polymorphisms (codon 52, 54, 57; promoter -550, -221) in 204 DNA samples isolated from archival blood cards. MBL2 genotypes of infants born before the 36th week of pregnancy (N = 102) were compared to a control group of infants born at term after the 37th week (N = 102). The frequency of the codon 52 polymorphism was significantly higher in the pre-term group compared to the term group (10.8% versus 4.9%, P = 0.04), while the frequency of the codon 54 polymorphism was equal in both groups (11.3% versus 11.8%). Interestingly, carriers of genotypes (O/O) likely conferring deficient MBL plasma levels were more common in the group of premature birth (9.8% versus 2.9%, P = 0.05), while the promoter -550 C/C genotype was underrepresented in the pre-term birth group (24.5% versus 39.2%, P = 0.03). Our data add to the knowledge about genetic predisposition to prematurity and suggest that the fetal MBL2 genotype might be an additional genetic factor contributing to the risk of premature delivery.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2006 · Genetics in Medicine
  • Georg Mitterer · Wolfgang M Schmidt
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    ABSTRACT: In this chapter, a protocol called on-chip polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is presented for the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) microarray-based detection of bacterial target sequences. On-chip PCR combines, in a single step, the conventional amplification of a target with a simultaneous, nested PCR round intended for target detection. While freely diffusible primers are deployed for amplification, the nested PCR is initiated by oligonucleotide primers bound to a solid phase. Thus, on-chip PCR allows the single-step amplification and characterization of a DNA sample as a result of separation in liquid and solid-phase reactions. In contrast to conventional PCR, the reaction is performed directly on the flat surface of a glass slide that holds an array of covalently attached nested primers. The bacterial target DNA is amplified and probed using primers identifying either species-specific sequence regions of ribosomal DNA or unique bacterial target genes, such as virulence or resistance factors. The microarray is produced using standard spotting equipment with an array layout containing a high number of replicates. Fluorescence scanning of on-chip PCR slides allows the rapid detection of the target of interest. The protocol described herein will show how on-chip PCR can be used to detect and precisely identify DNA of bacterial origin.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2006 · Methods in Molecular Biology