In situ hybridization AT-tailing with catalyzed signal amplification for sensitive and specific in situ detection of human immunodeficiency virus-1 mRNA in formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues

Am J Pathol. 2003 Feb;162(2):381-9. doi: 10.1016/S0002-9440(10)63833-3.


In situ hybridization is one of the most important techniques to visualize gene expression at the cellular level in various tissues. The in situ hybridization-AT tailing (ISH-AT) method uses a specially designed and synthesized oligonucleotide probe that has (AT)10 on the 3' side. This (AT)10 of the probe is elongated by DeltaTth DNA polymerase in the presence of dATP, dTTP, and labeled dUTP in the tissue after hybridization. Through this process the target is labeled with many hapten molecules. In this study, we detected human immunodeficiency virus type 1 RNA in formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissues obtained from autopsied patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome by combining ISH-AT with the catalyzed signal amplification (CSA) system (ISH-AT-CSA), although we failed to detect signals from the same samples by conventional in situ hybridization using RNA probes (RISH) with CSA (RISH-CSA). We demonstrated that the ISH-AT-CSA method was superior to RISH-CSA in terms of both sensitivity and specificity, and that it was applicable to fluorescence in situ hybridization and double staining with immunohistochemistry for the characterization of cell phenotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenine
  • Adult
  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Base Sequence
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA Probes
  • Female
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization / methods
  • Infant
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology*
  • Lymph Nodes / virology
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / isolation & purification*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Thymine


  • Antigens, Viral
  • DNA Probes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Adenine
  • Thymine