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Biochemistry - Hematology - Molecular Biology - Pathology

Fast and Non-Toxic In Situ Hybridization without Blocking of Repetitive Sequences
Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Author: Steen H. Matthiesen et al.

by Steen H. Matthiesen, Charles M. Hansen

Formamide is the preferred solvent to lower the melting point and annealing temperature of nucleic acid strands in in situ hybridization (ISH). A key benefit of formamide is better preservation of morphology due to a lower incubation temperature. However, in fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), against unique DNA targets in tissue sections, an overnight hybridization is required to obtain sufficient signal intensity. Here, we identified alternative solvents and developed a new hybridization buffer that reduces the required hybridization time to one hour (IQFISH method). Remarkably, denaturation and blocking against repetitive DNA sequences to prevent non-specific binding is not required. Furthermore, the new hybridization buffer is less hazardous than formamide containing buffers. The results demonstrate a significant increased hybridization rate at a lowered denaturation and hybridization temperature for both DNA and PNA (peptide nucleic acid) probes. We anticipate that these formamide substituting solvents will become the foundation for changes in the understanding and performance of denaturation and hybridization of nucleic acids. For example, the process time for tissue-based ISH for gene aberration tests in cancer diagnostics can be reduced from days to a few hours. Furthermore, the understanding of the interactions and duplex formation of nucleic acid strands may benefit from the properties of these solvents.