Nonradioactive Differential Display of Messenger RNA

  • Thomas C. G. Bosch
  • Jan U. Lohmann
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Changes in cell behavior are driven by changes in gene expression. Thus, in order to understand the mechanisms regulating cell behavior, one has to identify and characterize differentially expressed genes. Standard methods currently used to isolate differentially expressed genes include subtractive hybridization (1,2), differential hybridization (3), and single-cell polymerase chain reaction (PCR) (4). Differential display of mRNA by PCR (DD-PCR) is a new and powerful procedure for quantitative detection of differentially expressed genes (5,6). Advantages over alternative approaches include: quantitative identification of differences in gene expression between different cell fractions; simultaneous detection of both upregulation and downregulation of genes; requirement of only small amounts of messenger RNA; and drastically reduced time of analysis. Since on average there are about 15,000 individual mRNA species present in any individual cell, some steps of selection have to be taken before the transcript population can be displayed simultaneously. Therefore, in the DD-PCR procedure mRNAs from different cell fractions are reverse transcribed (RT) using an oligo-dT-NN anchor primer. Since this 3′ primer will hybridize only with transcripts carrying the corresponding two NN-bases in front of the poly(A) tail, only 1/12 (i.e., about 1200) of all transcripts are reverse transcribed into cDNA. Accordingly, for reverse transcription of all messages 12 different 3′ primer have to be used independently. PCR of the resulting cDNA is then carried out using radiolabeled dNTPs, the oligo-dT-NN anchor primer as 3′ primer and a short arbitrary oligonucleotide as 5′ primer.


Polymerase Chain Reaction Polymerase Chain Reaction Product Polymerase Chain Reaction Reaction Amersham Pharmacia Biotech Differential Display 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas C. G. Bosch
    • 1
  • Jan U. Lohmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für Spezielle ZoologieUniversität JenaGermany
  2. 2.Salk InstituteLa Jolla

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