Reference genes are generally employed in real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) experiments to normalize variability between different samples. The aim of this study was to identify and validate appropriate reference genes as internal controls for RT-qPCR experiments in rubella virus (RV)-infected Vero and MCF-7 cell lines using SYBR green fluorescence. The software programs geNorm and NormFinder and the DeltaDeltaC(t) calculation were used to determine the expression stability and thus reliability of nine suitable reference genes. HPRT1 and HUEL, and HUEL and TBP were identified to be most suitable for RT-qPCR analysis of RV-infected Vero and MCF-7 cells, respectively. These genes were used as normalizers for transcriptional activity of selected cellular genes. The results confirm previously published microarray and Northern blot data, particularly on the transcriptional activity of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 and the nuclear body protein SP100. Furthermore, the mRNA level of the mitochondrial protein p32 is increased in RV-infected cells. The effect on cellular gene transcription by RV-infection seems to be cell line-specific, but genes of central importance for viral life cycle appear to be altered to a similar degree. This study does not only provide an accurate and flexible tool for the quantitative analysis of gene expression patterns in RV-infected cell lines. It also indicates, that the suitability of a reference gene as normalizer of RT-qPCR data and the host-cell response to RV-infection are strictly cell-line specific.
(c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.