Luminex has expanded its range of FlexmiR miRNA assays with the addition of user-customisable panels that will enable researchers to study only those miRNAs they are interested in.
miRNA expression studies are typically conducted on a global scale, resulting in data overload and unwieldy data sets.
The new FlexmiR Select range aims to exploit the fact the extensive studies have shown that miRNA expression is specific to various experimental systems including tissues and cellular pathways by enabling researchers to choose application specific-subsets.
These subsets usually consist of fewer than 50 miRNAs, enabling a larger number of samples to be analysed to investigate the validity of potential markers.
"Researchers have made tremendous strides in identifying miRNAs and are beginning to uncover the role these tiny molecules play in disease," said Patrick Balthrop, CEO of Luminex.
"The next step in miRNA research is more concentrated analyses of small sets of miRNAs. FlexmiR Select is the ideal tool for this next level of research as it allows researchers to custom order panels consisting only of the miRNAs in which they are interested. These custom panels allow for more streamlined experiments and enhanced examination of specific miRNAs."
The FlexmiR Select allows researchers to configure customized miRNA panels for their specific needs and provides the flexibility to mix and match up to 50 different miRNA probes in a single well to help increase throughput.
The system makes use of Exiqon's locked-nucleic acid (LNA) technology that increases the affinity of the oligonucleotide for its complementary RNA target leading to a significant increase in stability and specificity of the duplex.
This means that unlike, many conventional miRNA testing methods, the FlexmiR miRNA assays do not require enrichment or amplification making experiments simpler and faster to conduct than with some competing offerings.
The assays require a five step protocol that involves labelling a total RNA sample with biotin before hybridising the labelled RNA to LNA-modified capture probes coupled to beads.
Unbound sample is then washed away before the addition of SAPE (streptavidin-phycoerythrin) reporter molecules and analysis using a Luminex xMAP analyser.
"FlexmiR has enabled our lab to generate high quality data for our craniofacial bone development studies in less time compared to other technologies we have used," said Dr Winston Patrick Kuo, Director of the Laboratory for Innovative Translational Technologies at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in the US.
"The ability to custom design our own assays will accelerate our research by allowing us to focus on bone-specific miRNAs that are relevant to our study."