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Open Access Software

PathogenMIPer: a tool for the design of molecular inversion probes to detect multiple pathogens

Sreedevi Thiyagarajan, Miloslav Karhanek, Michael Akhras, Ronald W Davis and Nader Pourmand*

Author Affiliations

Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, USA

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BMC Bioinformatics 2006, 7:500  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-7-500

Published: 14 November 2006

Abstract

Background

Here we describe PathogenMIPer, a software program for designing molecular inversion probe (MIP) oligonucleotides for use in pathogen identification and detection. The software designs unique and specific oligonucleotide probes targeting microbial or other genomes. The tool tailors all probe sequence components (including target-specific sequences, barcode sequences, universal primers and restriction sites) and combines these components into ready-to-order probes for use in a MIP assay. The system can harness the genetic variability available in an entire genome in designing specific probes for the detection of multiple co-infections in a single tube using a MIP assay.

Results

PathogenMIPer can accept sequence data in FASTA file format, and other parameter inputs from the user through a graphical user interface. It can design MIPs not only for pathogens, but for any genome for use in parallel genomic analyses. The software was validated experimentally by applying it to the detection of human papilloma virus (HPV) as a model system, which is associated with various human malignancies including cervical and skin cancers. Initial tests of laboratory samples using the MIPs developed by the PathogenMIPer to recognize 24 different types of HPVs gave very promising results, detecting even a small viral load of single as well as multiple infections (Akhras et al, personal communication).

Conclusion

PathogenMIPer is a software for designing molecular inversion probes for detection of multiple target DNAs in a sample using MIP assays. It enables broader use of MIP technology in the detection through genotyping of pathogens that are complex, difficult-to-amplify, or present in multiple subtypes in a sample.