Locked Nucleic Acid Flow Cytometry-fluorescence in situ Hybridization (LNA flow-FISH): A Method for Bacterial Small RNA Detection
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR BIOMOLECULAR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
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Fluorescence in situ hybridization FISH is a powerful technique that is used to detect and localize specific nucleic acid sequences in the cellular environment. In order to increase throughput, FISH can be combined with flow cytometry flow-FISH to enable the detection of targeted nucleic acid sequences in thousands of individual cells. As a result, flow-FISH offers a distinct advantage over lysateensemble-based nucleic acid detection methods because each cell is treated as an independent observation, thereby permitting stronger statistical and variance analyses. These attributes have prompted the use of FISH and flow-FISH methods in a number of different applications and the utility of these methods has been successfully demonstrated in telomere length determination1,2, cellular identification and gene expression3,4, monitoring viral multiplication in infected cells5, and bacterial community analysis and enumeration6. Traditionally, the specificity of FISH and flow-FISH methods has been imparted by DNA oligonucleotide probes. Recently however, the replacement of DNA oligonucleotide probes with nucleic acid analogs as FISH and flow-FISH probes has increased both the sensitivity and specificity of each technique due to the higher melting temperatures Tm of these analogs for natural nucleic acids7,8. Locked nucleic acid LNA probes are a type of nucleic acid analog that contain LNA nucleotides spiked throughout a DNA or RNA sequence9,10. When coupled with flow-FISH, LNA probes have previously been shown to outperform conventional DNA probes7,11 and have been successfully used to detect eukaryotic mRNA12 and viral RNA in mammalian cells5.
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