Document Detail

A novel L1 retrotransposon marker for HeLa cell line identification.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19450234     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The HeLa cell line is the oldest, most widely distributed, permanent human cell line. As a nearly ubiquitous inhabitant of laboratories using tissue culture techniques, its aggressive growth characteristics make it a problematic contaminant that can overgrow less robust cell lines. Consequently, HeLa contamination is common in both the research laboratory and cell line repository contexts, and its detection is hampered by the lack of a rapid, sensitive and robust assay. Here we report the development of a HeLa-specific DNA diagnostic test: a single duplex detection PCR assay targeting an L1 retrotransposon insertion. All HeLa clones from a geographically diverse panel were positive by this assay, and the particular L1 insertion we identified appears to be unique to the HeLa cell line. The assay can detect very low levels of HeLa contamination (<1%), and can be performed on un-purified cell pellets, allowing rapid routine screening.
Raheleh Rahbari; Tom Sheahan; Vasileios Modes; Pam Collier; Catriona Macfarlane; Richard M Badge
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Technical Report    
Journal Detail:
Title:  BioTechniques     Volume:  46     ISSN:  1940-9818     ISO Abbreviation:  BioTechniques     Publication Date:  2009 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-05-19     Completed Date:  2009-07-16     Revised Date:  2009-11-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8306785     Medline TA:  Biotechniques     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  277-84     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Biological Markers / analysis*
Cells, Cultured*
Equipment Contamination
Gene Frequency
Hela Cells*
Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements / genetics*
Polymerase Chain Reaction
Grant Support
075163//Wellcome Trust; 075163/Z/04/Z//Wellcome Trust
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Biological Markers

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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