Comprehensive FISH probe design tool applied to imaging human immunoglobulin class switch recombination
in: PLoS One (2012)
We present a web engine boosted fluorescence in-situ hybridization (webFISH) algorithm using a genome-wide sequence similarity search to design target-specific single-copy and repetitive DNA FISH probes. The webFISH algorithm featuring a user-friendly interface (http://www.webfish2.org/) maximizes the coverage of the examined sequences with FISH probes by considering locally repetitive sequences absent from the remainder of the genome. The highly repetitive human immunoglobulin heavy chain sequence was analyzed using webFISH to design three sets of FISH probes. These allowed direct simultaneous detection of class switch recombination in both immunoglobulin-heavy chain alleles in single cells from a population of cultured primary B cells. It directly demonstrated asynchrony of the class switch recombination in the two alleles in structurally preserved nuclei while permitting parallel readout of protein expression by immunofluorescence staining. This novel technique offers the possibility of gaining unprecedented insight into the molecular mechanisms involved in class switch recombination.