RNA detection in situ with FISH-STICs

John R. Sinnamon, Kevin Czaplinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The ability to detect RNA molecules in situ has long had important applications for molecular biological studies. Enzyme or dyelabeled antisense in vitro runoff transcripts and synthetic oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) both have a proven track record of success, but each of these also has scientific and practical drawbacks and limitations to its use. We devised a means to use commercially synthesized oligonucleotides as RNA-FISH probes without further modification and show that such probes work well for detection of RNA in cultured cells. This approach can bind a high concentration of fluorescent ODN to a short stretch of an RNA using commercial DNA synthesis outlets available to any laboratory. We call this approach for creating in situ hybridization probes Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization with Sequential Tethered and Intertwined ODN Complexes (FISH-STICs). We demonstrate that one FISH-STIC probe can detect mRNA molecules in culture, and that probe detection can be improved by the addition of multiple probes that can be easily adapted for robust mRNA quantification. Using FISH-STICs, we demonstrate a nonoverlapping distribution for β-actin and γ-actin mRNA in cultured fibroblasts, and the detection of neuronspecific transcripts within cultured primary hippocampal neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-266
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • MRNA localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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