Development of a simplified and inexpensive RNA depletion method for plasmid DNA purification using size selection magnetic beads (SSMBs)

Genes Dis. 2020 May 20;8(3):298-306. doi: 10.1016/j.gendis.2020.04.013. eCollection 2021 May.


Plasmid DNA (pDNA) isolation from bacterial cells is one of the most common and critical steps in molecular cloning and biomedical research. Almost all pDNA purification involves disruption of bacteria, removal of membrane lipids, proteins and genomic DNA, purification of pDNA from bulk lysate, and concentration of pDNA for downstream applications. While many liquid-phase and solid-phase pDNA purification methods are used, the final pDNA preparations are usually contaminated with varied degrees of host RNA, which cannot be completely digested by RNase A. To develop a simple, cost-effective, and yet effective method for RNA depletion, we investigated whether commercially available size selection magnetic beads (SSMBs), such as Mag-Bind® TotalPure NGS Kit (or Mag-Bind), can completely deplete bacterial RNA in pDNA preparations. In this proof-of-principle study, we demonstrated that, compared with RNase A digestion and two commercial plasmid affinity purification kits, the SSMB method was highly efficient in depleting contaminating RNA from pDNA minipreps. Gene transfection and bacterial colony formation assays revealed that pDNA purified from SSMB method had superior quality and integrity to pDNA samples cleaned up by RNase A digestion and/or commercial plasmid purification kits. We further demonstrated that the SSMB method completely depleted contaminating RNA in large-scale pDNA samples. Furthermore, the Mag-bind-based SSMB method costs only 5-10% of most commercial plasmid purification kits on a per sample basis. Thus, the reported SSMB method can be a valuable and inexpensive tool for the removal of bacterial RNA for routine pDNA preparations.

Keywords: DNA transfection; DNA vaccination; Gene delivery; Plasmid DNA purification; RNA depletion; Size selection magnetic beads.