qPCR-based mitochondrial DNA quantification: Influence of template DNA fragmentation on accuracy

Jackson, Christopher B; Gallati, Sabina; Schaller, André (2012). qPCR-based mitochondrial DNA quantification: Influence of template DNA fragmentation on accuracy. Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 423(3), pp. 441-7. Orlando, Fla.: Academic Press 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.05.121

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)

Real-time PCR (qPCR) is the method of choice for quantification of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) by relative comparison of a nuclear to a mitochondrial locus. Quantitative abnormal mtDNA content is indicative of mitochondrial disorders and mostly confines in a tissue-specific manner. Thus handling of degradation-prone bioptic material is inevitable. We established a serial qPCR assay based on increasing amplicon size to measure degradation status of any DNA sample. Using this approach we can exclude erroneous mtDNA quantification due to degraded samples (e.g. long post-exicision time, autolytic processus, freeze-thaw cycles) and ensure abnormal DNA content measurements (e.g. depletion) in non-degraded patient material. By preparation of degraded DNA under controlled conditions using sonification and DNaseI digestion we show that erroneous quantification is due to the different preservation qualities of the nuclear and the mitochondrial genome. This disparate degradation of the two genomes results in over- or underestimation of mtDNA copy number in degraded samples. Moreover, as analysis of defined archival tissue would allow to precise the molecular pathomechanism of mitochondrial disorders presenting with abnormal mtDNA content, we compared fresh frozen (FF) with formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) skeletal muscle tissue of the same sample. By extrapolation of measured decay constants for nuclear DNA (λnDNA) and mtDNA (λmtDNA) we present an approach to possibly correct measurements in degraded samples in the future. To our knowledge this is the first time different degradation impact of the two genomes is demonstrated and which evaluates systematically the impact of DNA degradation on quantification of mtDNA copy number.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine

UniBE Contributor:

Jackson, Christopher; Gallati, Sabina and Schaller, André




Academic Press




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:24

Last Modified:

06 Dec 2013 13:29

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/8317 (FactScience: 213836)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback