Shear Dependent LC Purification of an Engineered DNA Nanoswitch and Implications for DNA Origami

Anal Chem. 2017 Jun 6;89(11):5673-5677. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b00791. Epub 2017 May 8.


As DNA nanotechnology matures, there is increasing need for fast, reliable, and automated purification methods. Here, we develop UHPLC methods to purify self-assembled DNA nanoswitches, which are formed using DNA origami approaches and are designed to change conformations in response to a binding partner. We found that shear degradation hindered LC purification of the DNA nanoswitches, removing oligonucleotides from the scaffold strand and causing loss of function. However, proper choice of column, flow rate, and buffers enabled robust and automated purification of DNA nanoswitches without loss of function in under a half hour. Applying our approach to DNA origami structures, we found that ∼400 nm long nanotubes degraded under the gentlest flow conditions while ∼40 nm diameter nanospheres remained intact even under aggressive conditions. These examples show how fluid stresses can affect different DNA nanostructures during LC purification and suggest that shear forces may be relevant for some applications of DNA nanotechnology. Further development of this approach could lead to fast and automated purification of DNA nanostructures of various shapes and sizes, which would be an important advance for the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid* / methods
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Nanostructures
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nanotubes
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*
  • Shear Strength*


  • DNA