Bicistronic reporter assays have been instrumental for transgene expression, understanding of internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) translation, and identification of novel cap-independent translational elements (CITE). We observed a large methodological variability in the use of bicistronic reporter assays and data presentation or normalization procedures. Therefore, we systematically searched the literature for bicistronic IRES reporter studies and analyzed methodological details, data visualization, and normalization procedures. Two hundred fifty-seven publications were identified using our search strategy (published 1994–2020). Experimental studies on eukaryotic adherent cell systems and the cell-free translation assay were included for further analysis. We evaluated the following methodological details for 176 full text articles: the bicistronic reporter design, the cell line or type, transfection methods, and time point of analyses post-transfection. For the cell-free translation assay, we focused on methods of in vitro transcription, type of translation lysate, and incubation times and assay temperature. Data can be presented in multiple ways: raw data from individual cistrons, a ratio of the two, or fold changes thereof. In addition, many different control experiments have been suggested when studying IRES-mediated translation. In addition, many different normalization and control experiments have been suggested when studying IRES-mediated translation. Therefore, we also categorized and summarized their use. Our unbiased analyses provide a representative overview of bicistronic IRES reporter use. We identified parameters that were reported inconsistently or incompletely, which could hamper data reproduction and interpretation. On the basis of our analyses, we encourage adhering to a number of practices that should improve transparency of bicistronic reporter data presentation and improve methodological descriptions to facilitate data replication.

Current practice in bicistronic ires reporter use: A systematic review

Zacchini F.
Co-primo
;
Montanaro L.
Penultimo
;
2021

Abstract

Bicistronic reporter assays have been instrumental for transgene expression, understanding of internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) translation, and identification of novel cap-independent translational elements (CITE). We observed a large methodological variability in the use of bicistronic reporter assays and data presentation or normalization procedures. Therefore, we systematically searched the literature for bicistronic IRES reporter studies and analyzed methodological details, data visualization, and normalization procedures. Two hundred fifty-seven publications were identified using our search strategy (published 1994–2020). Experimental studies on eukaryotic adherent cell systems and the cell-free translation assay were included for further analysis. We evaluated the following methodological details for 176 full text articles: the bicistronic reporter design, the cell line or type, transfection methods, and time point of analyses post-transfection. For the cell-free translation assay, we focused on methods of in vitro transcription, type of translation lysate, and incubation times and assay temperature. Data can be presented in multiple ways: raw data from individual cistrons, a ratio of the two, or fold changes thereof. In addition, many different control experiments have been suggested when studying IRES-mediated translation. In addition, many different normalization and control experiments have been suggested when studying IRES-mediated translation. Therefore, we also categorized and summarized their use. Our unbiased analyses provide a representative overview of bicistronic IRES reporter use. We identified parameters that were reported inconsistently or incompletely, which could hamper data reproduction and interpretation. On the basis of our analyses, we encourage adhering to a number of practices that should improve transparency of bicistronic reporter data presentation and improve methodological descriptions to facilitate data replication.
2021
van den Akker G.G.H.; Zacchini F.; Housmans B.A.C.; van der Vloet L.; Caron M.M.J.; Montanaro L.; Welting T.J.M.
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