A rapid and sensitive approach to mutation detection using real-time polymerase chain reaction and melting curve analyses, using BRCA1 as an example

Mol Diagn. 1999 Sep;4(3):241-6. doi: 10.1016/s1084-8592(99)80027-7.


Background: The detection of 2 recurrent mutations in the BRCA1 gene (Ashkenazi Jewish and Dutch populations) was studied with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and melting curve analyses.

Methods: PCR products were designed around the 185delAG in exon 2 and the single- base substitution 2841G>T in exon 11. Hybridization probe sets were designed for both PCR products, with each probe overlapping the specific mutation. The exon 11 probe set also covered another mutation, the 2814insA. The 39 end of the 59 probe was labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate and the 59 end of the 39 probe with LightCycler Red 640 (Roche Diagnostics, Indianapolis, IN).

Results: The 185del and 2841G mutations were easily detected with the hybridization probes, resulting in dual peaks for heterozygotes in melting curve analyses. The differences in melting characteristics of the heteroduplexes in heterozygotes were not detectable with SYBR Green I.

Conclusion: For known mutations, melting curve analyses using hybridization-specific probes provide a sensitive, rapid, and efficient approach to mutation detection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • DNA Mutational Analysis / methods*
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Exons / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Genotype
  • Heteroduplex Analysis
  • Humans
  • Jews / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / epidemiology
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / ethnology
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / genetics*
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Nucleic Acid Denaturation*
  • Point Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Neoplasm