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Detection of viral genomes in cultured cells and paraffin-embedded tissue sections using biotin-labeled hybridization probes

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0042-6822(83)90460-9
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


Abstract A method of in situ cytohybridization is described for the detection of specific viral genomes in infected cell cultures or paraffin-embedded tissue sections without the use of radioisotopes. Biotin-labeled analogs of TTP are incorporated into viral DNA in vitro by nick translation and the resultant DNA probes hybridized to cytologic samples. Cells containing viral genetic material are then revealed by standard immunofluorescence, immunoperoxidase, or affinity cytochemical techniques that are based on the specific interaction between biotin and antibiotin IgG or avidin. Hybridization probes containing nucleotides that have an 11- or 16-atom spacer arm between the biotin molecule and the pyrimidine ring interact with these detector proteins more efficiently than probes containing biotin-nucleotides with a 4-atom spacer arm. The total procedure can be performed fairly rapidly (24 hr or less) and numerous samples can be processed simultaneously. Although the detection methods employed to date are not as sensitive as autoradiographic procedures with high specific activity probes, more sensitive protein detector complexes are currently being constructed. The speed, specificity, and resolving power of this technique should be of general utility in screening for the presence of infectious agents in cell or tissue samples. Here we report the visualization of parvovirus, polyomavirus, herpes simplex virus, adenovirus, and retrovirus genetic material in infected cell cultures and herpes simplex and adenovirus DNA in paraffin-embedded autopsy tissues.

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