Ribosomal 18S RNA prevails over glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and beta-actin genes as internal standard for quantitative comparison of mRNA levels in invasive and noninvasive human melanoma cell subpopulations

Anal Biochem. 2001 Aug 1;295(1):17-21. doi: 10.1006/abio.2001.5171.


The comparison of the gene expression profiles between two subpopulations of melanoma cells (1C8 and T1C3) derived from the tumor of one patient by cDNA array revealed differences in GAPDH and beta-actin gene levels. These two housekeeping genes were up-regulated in invasive T1C3 melanoma cells compared to noninvasive 1C8 cells. Since cDNA array results were not confirmed by conventional RT-PCR throughout the exponential phase of amplification, we performed duplex relative RT-PCR using ribosomal 18S RNA as internal standard including competimer technology. Statistical analyses provided significant evidence that invasive T1C3 melanoma cells exhibited a twofold higher mRNA level of both GAPDH and beta-actin than noninvasive 1C8 cells. This study demonstrates that the duplex relative RT-PCR procedure including ribosomal 18S RNA as internal standard and competimer technology is precise for RNA quantification and is tailored for cDNA array validation. Our data provide molecular evidence that cellular subpopulations of the same pathological origin are highly heterogeneous and extend the concept that the selection of an appropriate internal control for comparative mRNA analysis should be adapted to each model of human cancers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / enzymology
  • Melanoma / genetics*
  • Melanoma / pathology*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / genetics*
  • Reference Standards
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Actins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases