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New Technique Involving Roche's LightCycler 480 Instrument Enables Efficient and Economic Studies on RNA Editing

PENZBERG, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar 4, 2008 - Current research in the area of RNA editing is limited by the lack of cheap, effective approaches for screening for new editing sites or for mutants affected in the editing process. Previously used methods to study RNA editing, such as cDNA sequencing, primer extension or pyrosequencing are either too expensive, not sensitive enough, or too labor intensive for high-throughput screens.

Now, a one-step, high-throughput method using High Resolution Melting on the LightCycler(R) 480 System is described (see Chateigner-Boutin, A-L, Small, I (2007) Nucleic Acids Research, 1-8, doi:10.1093/nar/gkm640). It allows both the scanning of transcripts for new editing sites (without any prior knowledge of their nature or location) and the quantification of editing. The method, originally designed to detect DNA mutations and genotype individuals in clinical research and diagnostics, can be simply adapted to research on RNA editing. This new approach can be simply and directly applied to samples from any organism, so this breakthrough should stimulate research in many laboratories.

RNA editing is reported in a wide range of organisms from viruses to mammals and plants where it has different functions such as regulating gene expression, increasing protein diversity or reversing the effect of mutations in the genome. It is defined as a site-specific modification of RNA molecules, occurring by nucleotide insertion/deletion, substitution or modification. In many cases, RNA editing is essential for correct production of the protein encoded, e.g., in humans, where this process is essential for the absorption of dietary fats in small intestine by producing the lipid-carrying protein apolipoprotein B48. In other cases, RNA editing modulates the functional properties of the encoded protein as in the case of the glutamate and serotonin receptors in the central nervous system.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As the world's biggest biotech company and an innovator of products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics and drugs for cancer and transplantation, and is a market leader in virology. It is also active in other major therapeutic areas such as autoimmune diseases, inflammatory and metabolic disorders and diseases of the central nervous system. In 2007 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 36.8 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 9.3 billion francs. Roche has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai, and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D in 2007. Worldwide, the Group employs about 79,000 people. Additional information is available on the Internet at

LIGHTCYCLER is a trademark of Roche.

The technology used for the LightCycler(R) System is licensed from Idaho Technology, Inc.

Other brands or product names are trademarks of their respective holders.


Roche Diagnostics GmbH
Dr. Burkhard Ziebolz
Phone 049 (8856) 60 4830

Posted: March 2008