, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 407-416,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 14 Mar 2009

Evaluation of Candidate Reference Genes for Real-Time Quantitative PCR of Plant Samples Using Purified cDNA as Template


Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is a precise method to measure changes in gene transcript level. Accurate quantification requires careful RNA quality assessment, determination of primer efficiency, and selection of an appropriate reference gene. While many experimental procedures for these purposes have been described for mammalian samples, the direct application of these methods to plant samples often introduces unexpected experimental errors due to the complex and variable nature of the ribosomal RNA species present in typical plant extracts. In this paper, we report a simple procedure for the purification and quantification of complementary DNA (cDNA) after reverse transcriptase reactions by microcapillary electrophoresis. The use of purified cDNA allows template concentrations to be more accurately standardized for SYBR Green PCR reactions and increases amplification efficiencies so that these closely resemble those determined by the standard curve method. These advantages facilitate a more precise evaluation of the transcript levels of candidate reference genes under various experimental conditions without bias from differences in reverse transcriptase efficiency, template loading, or the presence of PCR inhibitors following reverse transcription. Using samples from Arabidopsis thaliana and Picea abies (Norway spruce), we demonstrate the value of this approach for selecting reference genes.