Author(s): Clark MS, Russo AF
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Abstract Tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) is the rate limiting enzyme in serotonin biosynthesis [D.G. Grahame-Smith, Tryptophan hydroxylation in brain, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 16 (1964) 586-592 ]. As such, the TPH gene is a likely target for modulation of serotonergic function, which has been associated with several psychiatric disorders [E.C. Azmitia, P.M. Whitaker-Azmitia, Awakening the sleeping giant: anatomy and plasticity of the brain serotonergic system, J. Clin. Psychiatry 52 (12, Suppl.) (1991) 4-16 ; R.P. Hart, R. Yang, L.A. Riley., T.L. Green, Post-transcriptional control of tryptophan hydroxylase gene expression in rat brain stem and pineal gland, Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 2 (1991) 71-77 ; M.J. Owens, C.B. Numeroff, Role of serotonin in the pathophysiology of depression: focus on the serotonin transporter, Clin. Chem. 40 (1994) 288-295 ]. Unfortunately, it has been technically difficult to measure TPH mRNA levels in central serotonergic neurons due to its low levels. For example, detection with ribonuclease protection assays requires pooling of 5-10 dissected brainstems [M.C. Darmon, B. Guibert, V. Leviel, M. Ehret, M. Maitre, J. Mallet, Sequence of two mRNAs encoding active rat tryptophan hydroxylase, J. Neurochem. 51 (1988) 312-316 ; B.L. Jacobs, E.C. Azmitia, Structure and function of the brain serotonin system, Physiol. Rev. 72 (1992) 165-229 ]. This protocol describes the use of competitive RT-PCR to measure TPH mRNA levels from rat brain. First described in 1988, competitive RT-PCR has become an accepted method of measuring RNA abundance [M. Clementi, S. Menzo, P. Bagnarelli, A. Manzin, A. Valenza, P.E. Varaldo, Quantitative PCR and RT-PCR in virology, PCR Methods Appl. 2 (1994) 191-196 ; N.C.P. Cross, Quantitative PCR techniques and applications, Br. J. Haematol. 89 (1995) 693-697 ; K.P. Foley, M.W. Leonard, J.D. Engel, Quantitation of RNA using the polymerase chain reaction, Trends Genet. 9 (1993) 380-385 ; P.D. Siebert, J.W. Larrick, Competitive PCR, Nature 359 (1992) 558 ]. Competitive RT-PCR uses co-amplification with a known quantity of an in vitro transcribed RNA which amplifies using the same primers and thus competes for reactants with the product of interest. As the two products amplify with the same efficiency, the relative abundance of the two amplification products remains constant, and thus can be used to determine initial tissue TPH mRNA levels [G. Gilliland, S. Perrin, K. Blanchard, H.F. Bunn, Analysis of cytokine mRNA and DNA: detection and quantitation by competitive polymerase chain reaction, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 87 (1990) 2725-2729 ; A.M. Wang, M. V. Doyle, D.F. Mark, Quantitation of mRNA by the polymerase chain reaction, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 86 (1989) 9717-9721 ]. We first demonstrate equivalent results between RNA slot blots and competitive RT-PCR using the CA77 thyroid C cell line [M.S. Clark, A. F. Russo, Tissue-specific glucocorticoid regulation of tryptophan hydroxylase mRNA levels, Mol. Brain Res. 48 (1997) 346-354 ]. We then describe the use of competitive RT-PCR to measure TPH mRNA levels in RNA isolated from rat brain poly-A+ RNA. Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Brain Res Brain Res Protoc
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access