Defining the Performance Parameters of a Rapid Screening Tool for FMR1 CGG-Repeat Expansions Based on Direct Triplet-Primed PCR and Melt Curve Analysis

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Abstract

Population-based screening for CGG-repeat expansions in the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene that cause fragile X syndrome can now be performed more cost-effectively and simply by combining direct triplet-primed PCR (dTP-PCR) with melting curve analysis (MCA). We have now performed a detailed technical validation to define the operational parameters for achieving robust and reliable performance of the FMR1 dTP-PCR MCA assay. We compared the assay's performance on 2 real-time PCR platforms and determined its analytic sensitivity and specificity. We also assessed the assay's performance on DNA isolated from different sources, the effect of differences in CGG-repeat length and AGG-interruption pattern on melt peak temperature (Tm), and the effect of common substances found in DNA solutions on Tms. The assay performed well in distinguishing normal from expansion-carrying samples. The assay had detection sensitivity down to 1 ng and an analytical specificity beyond 150 ng. In addition to peripheral blood DNA, analysis could also be performed on DNA from saliva, buccal swabs, and dried blood spots. Salt increased Tms, glycogen contamination had minimal effect, whereas AGG interruptions lowered Tms. The FMR1 dTP-PCR MCA screening assay is highly sensitive and specific, performs well using DNA from different sources, and is robust and reproducible when reagent concentrations are maintained across all tested samples.

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Rajan-Babu, I. S., Lian, M., Tran, A. H., Dang, T. T., Le, H. T. M., Thanh, M. N., … Chong, S. S. (2016). Defining the Performance Parameters of a Rapid Screening Tool for FMR1 CGG-Repeat Expansions Based on Direct Triplet-Primed PCR and Melt Curve Analysis. Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, 18(5), 719–730. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmoldx.2016.05.002

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