Tembusu virus (TMUV) is an important emerging arthropod-borne virus that may cause encephalitis in humans and has been isolated in regions of southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Thailand, and China. Currently, detection and identification of TMUV are limited to research laboratories, because quantitative rapid diagnostic assays for the virus do not exist. We describe the development of sensitive and specific conventional and real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays for detecting TMUV RNA in infected cell culture supernatant and Culex tarsalis mosquitoes. We used this assay to document the replication of TMUV in Cx. tarsalis, where titers increased 1,000-fold 5 days after inoculation. These assays resulted in the detection of virus-specific RNA in the presence of copurified mosquito nucleic acids. The use of these rapid diagnostic assays may have future applications for field pathogen surveillance and may assist in early detection, diagnosis, and control of the associated arthropod-borne pathogens.
Microarray performance depends upon the ability to screen samples against a vast array of probes with the appropriate sensitivity and selectivity. While these factors are significantly influenced by probe design, they are also subject to the particular detection methodology and reagents employed. Herein we describe the incorporation of super avidin-biotin system (SABS) and secondary enzymatic enhancement (SEE) as post-hybridization signal amplification techniques to improve the sensitivity of oligonucleotide microarrays. To these ends, we tested these methods on electrochemically interrogated arrays using both purified influenza A PCR products and randomly amplified genomic Francisella tularensis DNA as targets. While SABS treatment did not improve sensitivity for CombiMatrix ElectraSense(®) arrays using purified influenza A cDNA, chip sensitivity was improved 10-fold for randomly amplified targets. SEE improved performance to a greater degree and was able to lower the detection limits 10-fold for influenza A and 100-fold for F. tularensis DNA. These results indicate the promising capability of post-hybridization amplification techniques for enhancing microarray performance.
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