Quantification of cytosolic plasmid DNA degradation using high-throughput sequencing: Implications for gene delivery

Rahul Rattan, Anna U. Bielinska, Mark M. Banaszak Holl

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although cytosolic DNA degradation plays an important role in decreasing transgene expression, the plasmid degradation pattern remains largely unexplored. Methods: Illumina dye sequencing was employed to provide degradation site information for S1 and cytosolic nucleases. S1 nuclease provided a positive control for a comparison between the agarose gel method and sequencing approaches. Results: The poly(A) region between the β-lactamase gene and the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter was identified as the most likely cut site for polyplex-treated cytosol. The second most likely site, at the 5' end of the β-lactamase gene, was identified by gel electrophoresis and sequencing. Additional sites were detected in the OriC region, the SV40/poly(A) region, the luciferase gene and the CMV promoter. Sequence analysis of plasmid treated with cytosol from control cells showed the greatest cut activity in the OriC region, the β-lactamase gene and the poly(A) region following the luciferase gene. Additional regions of cut activity include the SV40 promoter and the β-lactamase poly(A) termination sequence. Both cytosolic nucleases and the S1 nuclease showed substantial activity at the bacterial origin of replication (OriC). Conclusions: High-throughput plasmid sequencing revealed regions of the luciferase plasmid DNA sequence that are sensitive to cytosolic nuclease degradation. This provides new targets for improving plasmid and/or polymer design to optimize the likelihood of protein expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Gene Medicine
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Biotechnology
  • HeLa
  • Plasmid design
  • Plasmid gene delivery
  • Polymer vector

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