A method was developed for the simultaneous detection of viral and human DNA in contrasting colours in routine formalin fixed, paraffin wax embedded biopsy specimens. This was achieved by non-isotopic in situ hybridisation (NISH) with a biotinylated Y chromosome probe and digoxigenin labelled probe for human papilloma virus type 6 (HPV 6). The tissues studied were peripheral lymphocytes, tonsil, and penile warts. The hybridisation signals produced by biotinylated probes were visualised in red using streptavidin peroxidase and those produced by digoxigenin labelled probes as a blue/black colour using anti-digoxigenin alkaline phosphatase. In lymphocytes and tonsil 95-100% of cells had a detectable Y chromosome; in warts only 60-70% of infected keratinocytes near the skin surface had a demonstrable Y chromosome. This suggests that this chromosome is lost or occluded in cell maturation. In simultaneous double hybridisation with both probes, HPV and Y sequences were demonstrable within the same nucleus in penile warts. This technique permits the simultaneous differential detection of two nuclei acid sequences in interphase nuclei and will have application in analysis of putative dual HPV infections and in determining the intranuclear spatial relations between nucleic acids in interphase nuclei.
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