A sensitive assay for dNTPs based on long synthetic oligonucleotides, EvaGreen dye, and inhibitor-resistant high-fidelity DNA polymerase
Deoxyribonucleotide triphosphates (dNTPs) are vital for the biosynthesis and repair of DNA. Their cellular concentration peaks during the S phase of the cell cycle. In non-proliferating cells dNTP concentrations are low, making their reliable quantification from tissue samples of heterogeneous cellular composition challenging. Partly because of this, the current knowledge related to regulation of and disturbances in cellular dNTP concentrations derive from cell culture experiments with little corroboration at the tissue or organismal level. Here, we fill the methodological gap by presenting a simple non-radioactive microplate assay for the quantification of dNTPs with a minimum requirement of 10 to 30 mg of biopsy material. In contrast to published assays, this assay is based on long (~200 nucleotides) synthetic single-stranded DNA templates, an inhibitor-resistant high-fidelity DNA polymerase, and the double-stranded-DNA-binding EvaGreen dye. The assay quantifies reliably as little as 100 fmol of each of the four dNTPs. Importantly, the assay allowed measurement of minute dNTP concentrations in mouse liver, heart, and skeletal muscle.
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