Web-based LinRegPCR: application for the visualization and analysis of (RT)-qPCR amplification and melting data

Andreas Untergasser, Jan M. Ruijter, Vladimir Benes, Maurice J. B. van den Hoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: The analyses of amplification and melting curves have been shown to provide valuable information on the quality of the individual reactions in quantitative PCR (qPCR) experiments and to result in more reliable and reproducible quantitative results. Implementation: The main steps in the amplification curve analysis are (1) a unique baseline subtraction, not using the ground phase cycles, (2) PCR efficiency determination from the exponential phase of the individual reactions, (3) setting a common quantification threshold and (4) calculation of the efficiency-corrected target quantity with the common threshold, efficiency per assay and Cq per reaction. The melting curve analysis encompasses smoothing of the observed fluorescence data, normalization to remove product-independent fluorescence loss, peak calling and assessment of the correct peak by comparing its melting temperature with the known melting temperature of the intended amplification product. Results: The LinRegPCR web application provides visualization and analysis of a single qPCR run. The user interface displays the analysis results on the amplification curve analysis and melting curve analysis in tables and graphs in which deviant reactions are highlighted. The annotated results in the tables can be exported for calculation of gene-expression ratios, fold-change between experimental conditions and further statistical analysis. Web-based LinRegPCR addresses two types of users, wet-lab scientists analyzing the amplification and melting curves of their own qPCR experiments and bioinformaticians creating pipelines for analysis of series of qPCR experiments by splitting its functionality into a stand-alone back-end RDML (Real-time PCR Data Markup Language) Python library and several companion applications for data visualization, analysis and interactive access. The use of the RDML data standard enables machine independent storage and exchange of qPCR data and the RDML-Tools assist with the import of qPCR data from the files exported by the qPCR instrument. Conclusions: The combined implementation of these analyses in the newly developed web-based LinRegPCR (https://www.gear-genomics.com/rdml-tools/) is platform independent and much faster than the original Windows-based versions of the LinRegPCR program. Moreover, web-based LinRegPCR includes a novel statistical outlier detection and the combination of amplification and melting curve analyses allows direct validation of the amplification product and reporting of reactions that amplify artefacts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number398
JournalBMC bioinformatics
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Amplification curve
  • LinRegPCR
  • Melting curve
  • PCR
  • RDML
  • qPCR

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