Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Research Notes and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Technical Note

Bovine serum albumin further enhances the effects of organic solvents on increased yield of polymerase chain reaction of GC-rich templates

Eric M Farell and Gladys Alexandre

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:257  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-257

Published: 24 May 2012

Abstract

Background

While being a standard powerful molecular biology technique, applications of the PCR to the amplification of high GC-rich DNA samples still present challenges which include limited yield and poor specificity of the reaction. Organic solvents, including DMSO and formamide, have been often employed as additives to increase the efficiency of amplification of high GC content (GC > 60%) DNA sequences. Bovine serum albumin (BSA) has been used as an additive in several applications, including restriction enzyme digestions as well as in PCR amplification of templates from environmental samples that contain potential inhibitors such as phenolic compounds.

Findings

Significant increase in PCR amplification yields of GC-rich DNA targets ranging in sizes from 0.4 kb to 7.1 kb were achieved by using BSA as a co-additive along with DMSO and formamide. Notably, enhancing effects of BSA occurs in the initial PCR cycles with BSA additions having no detrimental impact on PCR yield or specificity. When a PCR was set up such that the cycling parameters paused after every ten cycles to allow for supplementation of BSA, combining BSA and organic solvent produced significantly higher yields relative to conditions using the solvent alone. The co-enhancing effects of BSA in presence of organic solvents were also obtained in other PCR applications, including site-directed mutagenesis and overlap extension PCR.

Conclusions

BSA significantly enhances PCR amplification yield when used in combination with organic solvents, DMSO or formamide. BSA enhancing effects were obtained in several PCR applications, with DNA templates of high GC content and spanning a broad size range. When added to the reaction buffer, promoting effects of BSA were seen in the first cycles of the PCR, regardless of the size of the DNA to amplify. The strategy outlined here provides a cost-effective alternative for increasing the efficiency of PCR amplification of GC-rich DNA targets over a broad size range.