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Open Access Detection of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus by Use of Fluorogenic Nuclease Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction Analysis

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Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) induces persistent infections in laboratory mice; is a known contaminant of biological materials, such as transplantable tumor cell lines; and is of great concern in animal facilities due to its zoonotic potential. Fluorogenic nuclease reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (fnRT-PCR) assays combine RT-PCR with an internal fluorogenic hybridization probe, thereby potentially enhancing specificity and eliminating post-PCR processing. An fnRT-PCR assay specific for LCMV was, therefore, developed by targeting primer and probe sequences to a unique region of the LCMV nucleocapsid (NP) gene. The LCMV fnRT-PCR assay detected only LCMV and did not detect other RNA viruses that naturally infect rodents. The fnRT-PCR assay detected as little as one picogram of LCMV RNA, but was 100-fold less sensitive when directly compared with the mouse antibody production test. The fnRT-PCR assay was also able to detect viral RNA in numerous tissues and in feces and cage swipe specimens collected from experimentally inoculated BALB/c mice, but did not detect any viral RNA in similar samples collected from age- and strain-matched mock-infected mice. In conclusion, the LCMV fnRT-PCR assay offers a potentially high-throughput diagnostic assay to detect LCMV in mice and contaminated biological materials.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of University Animal Care, Veterinary Science and Microbiology, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721-0101 2: Departments of University Animal Care, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721-0101

Publication date: 2003-02-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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