Microfluidic isolation of extrachromosomal circular DNA through selective digestion of plasmids and linear DNA using immobilized nucleases

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Extrachromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA) refers to small circular DNA molecules that are distinct from chromosomal DNA and play diverse roles in various biological processes. They are also explored as potential biomarkers for disease diagnosis and precision medicine. However, isolating eccDNA from tissues and plasma is challenging due to low abundance and the presence of interfering linear DNA, requiring time-consuming processes and expert handling. Our study addresses this by utilizing a microfluidic chip tailored for eccDNA isolation, leveraging microfluidic principles for enzymatic removal of non-circular DNA. Our approach involves integrating restriction enzymes into the microfluidic chip, enabling selective digestion of mitochondrial and linear DNA fragments while preserving eccDNA integrity. This integration is facilitated by an in situ photo-polymerized emulsion inside microchannels, creating a porous monolithic structure suitable for immobilizing restriction and exonuclease enzymes (restriction enzyme MssI and exonuclease ExoV). Evaluation using control DNA mixtures and plasma samples with artificially introduced eccDNA demonstrated that our microfluidic chips reduce linear DNA by over 99%, performing comparable to conventional off-chip methods but with substantially faster digestion times, allowing for a remarkable 76-fold acceleration in overall sample preparation time. This technological advancement holds great promise for enhancing the isolation and analysis of eccDNA from tissue and plasma and the potential for increasing the speed of other molecular methods with multiple enzymatic steps.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)3101–3111
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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© 2024 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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