A sensitive multiplex assay for piRNA expression

Fuchou Tang, Katsuhiko Hayashi, Masahiro Kaneda, Kaiqin Lao, M. Azim Surani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) are a new class of small RNAs specifically expressed in male germ cells. It is known to bind to PIWI class of Argonaute proteins, Mili and Miwi. To help to decipher the mechanism of piRNA function, here, we report a real time PCR-based multiplex assay for piRNA expression. Firstly, we showed that the assay specifically detects piRNA expression in adult testis, consistent with the Northern blot result. The method we developed can simultaneously detect at least eight piRNAs using only 10 pg total RNA, which is equivalent to the RNA present in a single cell. This is five to six order magnitude more sensitive than corresponding Northern blot assays. Finally we used this assay to analyze eight piRNAs expression in mouse primordial germ cells (PGCs) in genital ridges from E12.5, at the time when piRNA-binding protein Mili starts to be detected in PGCs. This multiplex piRNA assay can be further expanded to assay a few hundred of piRNAs simultaneously from as little as total RNA from a single cell. This approach will help to understand the mechanism and function of piRNAs during germ cell development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1190-1194
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 16 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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