Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Diagnostic Pathology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Open Badges Methodology

Sensitive and reliable detection of Kit point mutation Asp 816 to Val in pathological material

Christian Kähler, Sabine Didlaukat, Alfred C Feller and Hartmut Merz*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Pathology, University of Luebeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538 Luebeck, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

Diagnostic Pathology 2007, 2:37  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-2-37

Published: 27 September 2007



Human mastocytosis is a heterogenous disorder which is linked to a gain-of-function mutation in the kinase domain of the receptor tyrosine kinase Kit. This D816V mutation leads to constitutive activation and phosphorylation of Kit with proliferative disorders of mast cells in the peripheral blood, skin, and spleen. Most PCR applications used so far are labour-intensive and are not adopted to daily routine in pathological laboratories. The method has to be robust and working on such different materials like archival formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue (FFPE) and blood samples. Such a method is introduced in this publication.


The Kit point mutation Asp 816 to Val is heterozygous which means a problem in detection by PCR because the wild-type allele is also amplified and the number of cells which bear the point mutation is in most of the cases low. Most PCR protocols use probes to block the wild-type allele during amplification with more or less satisfying result. This is why point-mutated forward primers were designed and tested for efficiency in amplification of the mutated allele.


One primer combination (A) fits the most for the introduced PCR assay. It was able just to amplify the mutated allele with high specificity from different patient's materials (FFPE or blood) of varying quality and quantity. Moreover, the sensitivity for this assay was convincing because 10 ng of DNA which bears the point mutation could be detected in a total volume of 200 ng of DNA.


The PCR assay is able to deal with different materials (blood and FFPE) this means quality and quantity of DNA and can be used for high-througput screening because of its robustness. Moreover, the method is easy-to-use, not labour-intensive, and easy to realise in a standard laboratory.