COMplementary Primer ASymmetric PCR (COMPAS-PCR) Applied to the Identification of Salmo salar, Salmo trutta and Their Hybrids
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPLoS ONE. 2016, 11 (10), e0165468. 10.1371/journal.pone.0165468
Avoiding complementarity between primers when designing a PCR assay constitutes a central rule strongly anchored in the mind of the molecular scientist. 3'-complementarity will extend the primers during PCR elongation using one another as template, consequently disabling further possible involvement in traditional target amplification. However, a 5'-complementarity will leave the primers unchanged during PCR cycles, albeit sequestered to one another, therefore also suppressing target amplification. We show that 5'-complementarity between primers may be exploited in a new PCR method called COMplementary-Primer-Asymmetric (COMPAS)-PCR, using asymmetric primer concentrations to achieve target PCR amplification. Moreover, such a design may paradoxically reduce spurious nontarget amplification by actively sequestering the limiting primer. The general principles were demonstrated using 5S rDNA direct repeats as target sequences to design a speciesspecific assay for identifying Salmo salar and Salmo trutta using almost fully complementary primers overlapping the same target sequence. Specificity was enhanced by using 3'-penultimate point mutations and the assay was further developed to enable identification of S. salar x S. trutta hybrids by High Resolution Melt analysis in a 35 min one-tube assay. This small paradigm shift, using highly complementary primers for PCR, should help develop robust assays that previously would not be considered.