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27.02.2019 | Original Article

Characterization of tissue-specific biomarkers with the expression of circRNAs in forensically relevant body fluids

International Journal of Legal Medicine
Baonian Liu, Feng Song, Qinrui Yang, Yuxiang Zhou, Chengchen Shao, Yiwen Shen, Ziqin Zhao, Qiqun Tang, Yiping Hou, Jianhui Xie
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00414-019-02027-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Messenger RNA (mRNA) markers have been extensively investigated for the identification of forensically relevant body fluids and tissues based on their expression profiles among cell types. As products of the backsplicing of pre-mRNAs, circular RNAs (circRNAs) share exonic sequences with their linear counterparts. The inclusion of circRNAs in mRNA profiling is shown to facilitate the detection of biomarkers in the identification of body fluids. In this study, we identified the expression of circRNAs of 14 out of 45 biomarkers from five body fluid types using outward-facing primer sets and revealed the ratio of circular to total transcripts of biomarkers by RNase R treatment. Furthermore, our results of qPCR analysis show that the inclusion of circRNAs in the detection of biomarkers, including HBA and ALAS2 for blood; MMP7 and MMP10 for menstrual blood; HTN3 for saliva; SPINK5, SERPINB3, ESR1, and CYP2B7P1 for vaginal secretions; TGM4, KLK3, and PRM2 for semen; and SLC22A6 and MIOX for urine, does not impair the specificity of these biomarkers. Additionally, a high copy number of targets from linear transcripts could be employed to increase the detection sensitivity of TGM4 and KLK3 with a low expression level of circRNAs in urine samples. Altogether, these results will help with the development of robust multiplex assays for body fluid identification.

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