PAGES: DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760160380 Full paper
Internal control for real-time polymerase chain reaction based on MS2 bacteriophage for RNA viruses diagnostics

Miriam Ribas Zambenedetti1,2, Daniela Parada Pavoni1,+, Andreia Cristine Dallabona1, Alejandro Correa Dominguez1, Celina de Oliveira Poersch1, Stenio Perdigão Fragoso1, Marco Aurélio Krieger1,3

1Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Instituto Carlos Chagas, Laboratório de Genômica, Curitiba, PR, Brasil
2Universidade Federal do Paraná, Departamento de Bioprocessos e Biotecnologia, Curitiba, PR, Brasil
3Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Instituto de Biologia Molecular do Paraná, Curitiba, PR, Brasil


BACKGROUND Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is routinely used to detect viral infections. In Brazil, it is mandatory the use of nucleic acid tests to detect hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus and human immunodeficiency virus in blood banks because of the immunological window. The use of an internal control (IC) is necessary to differentiate the true negative results from those consequent from a failure in some step of the nucleic acid test.

OBJECTIVES The aim of this study was the construction of virus-modified particles, based on MS2 bacteriophage, to be used as IC for the diagnosis of RNA viruses.

METHODS The MS2 genome was cloned into the pET47b(+) plasmid, generating pET47b(+)-MS2. MS2-like particles were produced through the synthesis of MS2 RNA genome by T7 RNA polymerase. These particles were used as non-competitive IC in assays for RNA virus diagnostics. In addition, a competitive control for HCV diagnosis was developed by cloning a mutated HCV sequence into the MS2 replicase gene of pET47b(+)-MS2, which produces a non-propagating MS2 particle. The utility of MS2-like particles as IC was evaluated in a one-step format multiplex real-time RT-PCR for HCV detection.

FINDINGS We demonstrated that both competitive and non-competitive IC could be successfully used to monitor the HCV amplification performance, including the extraction, reverse transcription, amplification and detection steps, without compromising the detection of samples with low target concentrations. In conclusion, MS2-like particles generated by this strategy proved to be useful IC for RNA virus diagnosis, with advantage that they are produced by a low cost protocol. An attractive feature of this system is that it allows the construction of a multicontrol by the insertion of sequences from more than one pathogen, increasing its applicability for diagnosing different RNA viruses.

Financial support: ICC (Fiocruz-PR), Instituto de Biologia Molecular do Paraná
+ Corresponding author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Received 21 August 2016
Accepted 17 January 2017


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