Origin and Utility of the Reverse Dot-Blot

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2003 Mar;3(2):143-52. doi: 10.1586/14737159.3.2.143.


Reverse allele specific oligonucleotide assays provide a robust method for the molecular characterization of high-mutation spectrum disorders. Commercial test have been developed for human leukocyte antigens class I and class II regions of human chromosome 6, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator at 7q31 and strains of human Hepatitis B and C virus. In their most developed form, these assays rely upon highly multiplexed PCR reactions containing biotinylated primers providing a substrate for nonradioactive detection systems. Sophisticated reverse dot-blot technology involves mechanized covalent attachment of activated primary amine-conjugated oligonucleotides to carboxylated nylon membranes or bovine serum albumin. Subsequent to line or dot printing, membranes are stored or sold dry in preparation for hybridization. Circular spots or lines are visualized colorimetrically after hybridization through the use of streptavidin horseradish peroxidase incubation followed by development using tetramethylbenzidine and hydrogen peroxide, or via chemiluminescence after incubation with avidin alkaline phosphatase conjugate and a luminous substrate susceptible to enzyme activation, such as CSPD, followed by exposure to x-ray film. The entire procedure from blood specimen receipt to result usually requires less than 1 day. Because of the simplicity, speed, and generally high sensitivity and specificity, large numbers of individuals can be rapidly screened using this technology. Rapid turnaround is often required in prenatal diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, beta-thalassemia and hemoglobinopathies, giving this technology has special applicability in those genetic diseases. Commercial instruments are available which automate the hybridization and color development. In addition, scanning software can capture the probe reactivity pattern and interpret it in terms of a genotype.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Hemoglobinopathies / diagnosis
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting* / history
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques / history
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Oligonucleotide Probes
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Oligonucleotide Probes