A one-tube reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for absolute feline coronavirus (FCoV) quantitation was developed. The assay is based on the 5' nuclease activity of the Thermus flavus (Tfl) polymerase and a fluorogenic probe which generates fluorescence when it is cleaved. The fluorogenic probe, also called TaqMan(TM) probe (Perkin Elmer, Foster City, USA), is an oligonucleotide designed to bind between the two PCR primers to the target cDNA and is labeled with a reporter and a quencher dye. In the intact probe, the quencher dye suppresses the fluorescence of the reporter dye by Forster-type energy transfer. During the polymerase extension steps the Tfl exonuclease activity cleaves the hybridised probe resulting in the generation of fluorescent emission of the reporter dye. The threshold cycle (C(T) value) indicates the increase of reporter fluorescence and is directly related to the initial amount of target cDNA or RNA, respectively. Fluorescence is monitored in real time after each cycle by a Perkin-Elmer ABI Prism® 7700 Sequence Detector. After completion of amplification, the C(T) values of the samples are calculated back to a standard curve, generated by amplification of diluted standard molecules. The one-tube RT-PCR described below allows precise quantitation, is highly sensitive, rapid (no separate reverse transcription step and no post-amplification steps), easy to handle, allows for a high sample throughput, shows a very good reproducibility, and can be executed with a low risk of contamination. The design of the primers-probe combination enables the detection of all known FCoV strains and is also useful for the detection of canine coronavirus, transmissible gastroenteritis virus and porcine respiratory coronavirus. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
- Fluorogenic 5' nuclease assay
- One-tube RT-PCR
- Viral RNA
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