In one-step RT-PCR, both reverse transcription and amplification are performed in the same tube. Upon completion of reverse transcription, the reaction temperature is raised to reach denaturation/PCR enzyme activation temperature and the thermal cycling (PCR) begins. One-step RT-PCR generally uses gene-specific primers for both the RT and PCR steps. The procedure is fast, easy to automate, and minimizes the risk of contamination due to fewer handling steps.
In two-step RT-PCR, the RNA is first transcribed into cDNA using oligo-dT primers, random oligos, or gene-specific primers. An aliquot of the RT reaction is subsequently added to the real-time PCR reaction in a second tube. Choice of different types of RT primers allows the analysis of different transcripts by PCR from one RT reaction. Most commonly, an oligo-dT primer is used for the RT step, followed by PCR with a pair of gene-specific primers. Precious RNA samples can be immediately transcribed into more stable cDNA for later use and long-term storage.
The advantages of each method are summarized below:
|Multiple PCRs from one RT reaction
|Flexibility with RT primer choice
|Enables long-term storage of cDNA
||Low contamination risk|
Optimized one-step and two-step RT-PCR kits compatible with any real-time cycler are available from QIAGEN. For further details, please see our online section on 'Critical factors for successful gene expression assays', or download our Brochure 'Critical Factors for Successful Real-Time PCR'.