Kreuger J, O'Callaghan P
PLoS ONE 11 (10) e0165012 [2016-10-21; online 2016-10-21]
Here we report on a technical difficulty we encountered while optimizing genotyping strategies to identify mice derived from Exoc3l2tm1a(KOMP)Wtsi embryonic stem cells obtained from the Knockout Mouse Project Repository. The Exoc3l2tm1a(KOMP)Wtsi construct encodes a "knockout-first" design with loxP sites that confer conditional potential (KO1st). We designed primers that targeted wild-type sequences flanking the most downstream element of the construct, an 80 base pair synthetic loxP region, which BLAST alignment analysis reveals is an element common to over 10,000 conditional gene-targeting mouse models. As PCR products amplified from KO1st and wild-type templates would have different lengths (and different mobility in an agarose gel) this strategy was designed to determine the zygosity of individual mice from a single PCR. In parallel we performed PCR with a primer specifically targeting the synthetic loxP sequence. Unexpectedly, while the latter strategy detected the synthetic loxP region and correctly genotyped KO1st chimeric mice, the same individuals were genotyped as wild-type when using the primers that flanked the synthetic loxP region. We discuss the possibility that secondary DNA structures, formed due to the palindromic nature of the synthetic loxP region, may have caused the KO1st template to elude the PCR when using primers that flanked this region. This brief report aims to raise awareness regarding this potential source of false-negative genotype results, particularly for those who are devising genotyping strategies for similarly engineered animal models.