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Detection of squirrel monkey retroviral sequences in interferon samples

Abstract

Background/Aims: Interferons have been used therapeutically in viral infections, and as immunomodulants in the treatment of different types of cancers. Interferons have been prepared from human lymphoid cell-lines, such as Namalwa, that contain integrated copies of squirrel monkey retrovirus proviral DNA. Squirrel monkey retrovirus is related to simian type D retroviruses, such as Mason-Pfizer monkey virus. Thus it is important to determine if these retroviral sequences are present in interferon preparations purified from human cell lines.

Methods: DNA samples were prepared from 75 commercial interferon preparations and analyzed for squirrel monkey retrovirus sequences by polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing. Since single polymerase chain reaction is not as sensitive, a nested polymerase chain reaction strategy was devised in order to detect squirrel monkey retrovirus-pol sequences. Amplification of β-actin (human) sequences was used to confirm that samples contained human genomic DNA. To determine the authenticity of squirrel monkey retrovirus sequences, we analyzed amplified products by Southern blot hybridization and direct DNA sequencing.

Results/Conclusions: Thirty-nine samples were positive for squirrel monkey retrovirus-pol sequences by nested polymerase chain reaction. It is noteworthy that 29 samples were either weakly or very weakly positive by single polymerase chain reaction, thus stressing the importance of our sensitive polymerase chain reaction assay. However, it remains to be determined whether the residual DNA sequences detected by our sensitive nested polymerase chain reaction assay have biological consequences.

Keywords

Interferon

Nested polymerase chain reaction

Retroviral sequences

Squirrel monkey retrovirus

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Copyright © 1998 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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