Application of nested PCR and mass spectrometry for DNA-based virus detection: HBV-DNA detected in the majority of isolated anti-HBc positive sera.
Jurinke C. Zollner B. Feucht HH. van den Boom D. Jacob A. Polywka S. Laufs R. Koster H.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Hamburg, Germany.
DNA preparations from three different groups of serum samples were examined for HBV-DNA via a nested polymerase chain reaction assay (lower detection limit: 10 viral genomes in 100 microliters serum): Group I consisted of 11 uninfected control sera, group II consisted of sera obtained from 11 HBV infected patients and group III consisted of 21 isolated anti-HBc positive samples. The 21 samples from group III were HBV-DNA negative according to a conventional non-nested PCR assay and hybridization with a 32P-labelled probe. Using nested PCR and mass spectrometry, HBV-DNA was detected in none of group I and in all of group II samples. In 11 out of 21 (52%) of the isolated anti-HBc positive sera from group III, HBV-DNA was detected. No correlation was observed between HBV-DNA positivity and anti-HBc titers. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry provided a fast, sensitive and non-radioactive assay for the detection of PCR products without the need for gel electrophoresis or hybridization with labelled probes.