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Applied Biosystems Unveils Real-time PCR Assays that Quantify Proteins in Human Cells

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Applied Biosystems has announced the introduction of a new line of TaqMan® real-time PCR assays that enable researchers to detect and quantify proteins in human cell samples.

The TaqMan Protein Expression Assays allow researchers to correlate relative levels of specific proteins with cell functions and behaviors, such as different disease conditions, or states of pluripotency or differentiation in stem cells. The initial release of these molecular tools includes assays that enable relative quantification of protein markers for pluripotency, from limited quantities of cultured human embryonic stem cells.

These new molecular tools offer researchers a more quantitative, simpler and more standardized approach to protein analysis of various cell types, especially stem cells, compared to other more complex methods that require large amounts of cell sample.

The new assays detect and quantify proteins by an innovative technology that combines an antibody-oligonucleotide-tagged immunoassay with a TaqMan Assay, to generate real-time PCR data for specific proteins present in as few as 10 to 250 cells.

The initial release of these assays in August will consist of six pre-designed protein expression assays. Four of the assays target stem cell pluripotency markers, and two target more commonly expressed proteins in a variety of cell types. When combined with Applied Biosystems TaqMan Assays for microRNA and messenger RNA – run on one of its family of real-time PCR systems – they form the life science industry’s only quantitative protein analysis method that enables researchers to make comparisons of protein and RNA molecular markers identified on the same platform, with the same starting samples.

The new assays for stem cells targets have already been used by a team of scientists at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to quantify protein biomarkers for pluripotency, using small quantities of human stem cell and testicular germ cell samples.

In a study being presented this week at the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) conference in Spain, the scientists used the TaqMan Protein Expression Assays to analyze germ cell tumors, and derived cell lines to characterize protein biomarkers for stem cell pluripotency. These kinds of biomarkers can potentially be used in research to identify and characterize malignant cells.

Prof Leendert Looijenga, Department of Pathology, Erasmus University Medical Center, “The development of the TaqMan Protein Expression Assays will result in a significant step forward in the investigation of the biology of many proteins, both normal and malignant – including those involved in stem cell regulation – using limited amounts of material in a standardized set-up.”

Sam Raha, Vice President of Life Technologies’ Genomic Assays Business, “This innovative real-time PCR technology expands our industry leading line of TaqMan assays for gene expression and genotyping to include solutions for protein detection and quantitation. Our combined portfolio of TaqMan assays and real-time PCR systems will provide scientists with a more complete picture of the biology of living organisms.”