Reverse transcriptase-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is an accurate and convenient technique for quantifying expression levels of the target genes. Selection of the appropriate reference gene is of the vital importance for RT-qPCR analysis. Hippodamia variegata is one of the most important predatory natural enemies of aphids. Recently, transcriptome and genome sequencings of H. variegata facilitate the gene functional studies.
However, there has been rare investigation on the detection of stably expressed reference genes in H. variegata. In the current study, by using five analytical tools (Delta Ct, geNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, and RefFinder), eight candidate reference genes, namely, Actin, EF1α, RPL7, RPL18, RPS23, Tubulin-α, Tubulin-β, and TufA, were evaluated under four experimental conditions including developmental stages, tissues, temperatures, and diets.
As a result, a specific set of reference genes were recommended for each experimental condition. These findings will help to improve the accuracy and reliability of RT-qPCR data, and lay a foundation for further exploration on the gene function of H. variegata.
Use and Misuse of C q in qPCR Data Analysis and Reporting
In the analysis of quantitative PCR (qPCR) data, the quantification cycle (Cq) indicates the position of the amplification curve with respect to the cycle axis. Because Cq is directly related to the starting concentration of the target, and the difference in Cq values is related to the starting concentration ratio, the only results of qPCR analysis reported are often Cq, ΔCq or ΔΔCq values.
However, reporting of Cq values ignores the fact that Cq values may differ between runs and machines, and, therefore, cannot be compared between laboratories. Moreover, Cq values are highly dependent on the PCR efficiency, which differs between assays and may differ between samples. Interpreting reported Cq values, assuming a 100% efficient PCR, may lead to assumed gene expression ratios that are 100-fold off.
This review describes how differences in quantification threshold setting, PCR efficiency, starting material, PCR artefacts, pipetting errors and sampling variation are at the origin of differences and variability in Cq values and discusses the limits to the interpretation of observed Cq values. These issues can be avoided by calculating efficiency-corrected starting concentrations per reaction. The reporting of gene expression ratios and fold difference between treatments can then easily be based on these starting concentrations.
Detection of PIK3CA Gene Mutation in Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma Using Droplet Digital PCR and RT-qPCR
Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) are the seventh cause of human malignancy with low survival rate due to late diagnosis and treatment. Its etiology is diverse; however genetic factors are significant. The most common mutations in HNSCC were found in the genes: PIK3CA (10-12%), BRCA1 (6%), and BRCA2 (7-9%). In some cases, these biomarkers correlate with recurrences or survival showing a potential of prognostic and predictive value.
A total of 113 formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor samples were collected from patients with HNSCC (oral cavity: 35 (31.0%); oropharynx: 30 (26.0%); larynx: 48 (43.0%)). We examined PIK3CA H1047R mutation by Real Time PCR (RT-qPCR) and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations were analyzed by RT-qPCR while p16 protein expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry.
Finally, we identified HPV infection by RT-qPCR. The relationships between genomic alterations and clinical parameters were assessed using the Yates’ corrected Chi-squared test or Fisher’s exact test for nominal variables. Kaplan Meier plots were applied for survival analysis. Our results revealed 9 PIK3CA H1047R mutations detected by ddPCR: 8 of them were negative in RT-qPCR. Due to the use of different methods to test the presence of the PIK3CA gene mutation, different treatment decisions might be made. That is why it is so important to use the most sensitive methods available. We confirmed the usefulness of ddPCR in the PIK3CA mutation assessment in FFPE samples.
Novel High-Throughput Multiplex qPCRs for the Detection of Canine Vector-Borne Pathogens in the Asia-Pacific
The Asia-Pacific hosts a large diversity of canine vector-borne pathogens (VBPs) with some of the most common and most pathogenic, generating significant mortality as well as a spectrum of health impacts on local dog populations. The VBPs Anaplasma platys, Babesia gibsoni, Babesia vogeli, Ehrlichia canis, Hepatozoon canis and haemotropic Mycoplasma spp. are all endemic throughout the region, with many exhibiting shifting geographical distributions that warrant urgent attention.
Moreover, many of these species cause similar clinical signs when parasitising canine hosts, whilst knowledge of the exact pathogen is critical to ensure treatment is effective. This is complicated by frequent coinfection that can exacerbate pathology. Here, we describe the development, optimisation and validation of two novel quadruplex Taq-Man based real-time PCRs (qPCRs) for the specific and sensitive detection of the aforementioned VBPs.
To ensure accurate evaluation of diagnostic performance, results of our qPCRs were evaluated on field samples from Thai dogs and compared with both conventional PCR (cPCR) results and next-generation sequencing (NGS) metabarcoding. Our qPCRs were found to be more sensitive at detecting canine VBP than cPCR and generated results similar to those achieved by NGS. These qPCRs will provide a valuable high-throughput diagnostic tool available to epidemiologists, researchers and clinicians for the diagnosis of key canine VBPs in the Asia-Pacific and further afield.