Background: Together single nucleotide substitutions and small insertion/deletion variants are the most common form of sequence variation in the human gene pool.High-resolution SNP profile and/or haplotype analyses enable the identification of modest-risk susceptibility genes to common diseases, genes that may modulate responses to pharmaceutical agents, and SNPs that can affect either their expression or function. In addition, sensitive techniques for germline or somatic mutation detection are important tools for characterizing sequence variations in genes responsible for tumor predisposition. Cost-effective methods are highly desirable. Many of the recently developed high-throughput technologies are geared toward industrial scale genetic studies and arguably do not provide useful solutions for small laboratory investigator-initiated projects. Recently, the use of new fluorescent dyes allowed the high-resolution analysis of DNA melting curves (HRM).
Results: Here, we compared the capacity of HRM, applicable to both genotyping and mutation scanning, to detect genetic variations in the tumor suppressor gene TP53 with that of mutation screening by full resequencing. We also assessed the performance of a variety of available HRM-based genotyping assays by genotyping 30 TP53 SNPs. We describe a series of solutions to handle the difficulties that may arise in large-scale application of HRM to mutation screening and genotyping at the TP53 locus. In particular, we developed specific HRM assays that render possible genotyping of 2 or more, sometimes closely spaced, polymorphisms within the same amplicon. We also show that simultaneous genotyping of 2 SNPs from 2 different amplicons using a multiplex PCR reaction is feasible; the data can be analyzed in a single HRM run, potentially improving the efficiency of HRM genotyping workflows.
Conclusion: The HRM technique showed high sensitivity and specificity (1.0, and 0.8, respectively, for amplicons of <400 bp) for mutation screening and provided useful genotyping assays as assessed by comparing the results with those obtained with Sanger sequencing. Thus, HRM is particularly suitable for either performing mutation scanning of a large number of samples, even in the situation where the amplicon(s) of interest harbor a common variant that may disturb the analysis, or in a context where gathering common SNP genotypes is of interest.