Test: Reverse Transcription PCR on Cellular Samples for HHV-6A and HHV-6B mRNA
Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) represents a sensitive and powerful tool for analyzing active, replicating virus by measuring viral messenger RNA (mRNA) rather than DNA. By measuring mRNA coding for viral “late and immediate early genes,” clinicians can distinguish an active herpesvirus infection from a non-productive infection. HHV-6 RT-PCR is performed on a real-time platform that increases the sensitivity of the test.
The viral mRNA is extracted from the cellular sample using a commercial kit. The RT-PCR method is used to detect the expressed viral gene target by reverse transcribing the mRNA of interest into its DNA complement (cDNA). Subsequently, the newly synthesized cDNA is amplified using traditional PCR methods.