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DNA retention on depth filters

Khanal, Ohnmar, Xu, Xuankuo, Singh, Nripen, Traylor, Steven J., Huang, Chao, Ghose, Sanchayita, Li, Zheng Jian, Lenhoff, Abraham M.
Journal of membrane science 2019 v.570-571 pp. 464-471
Chinese hamsters, DNA, animal ovaries, artificial membranes, bioprocessing, filters, filtration, fluorescence microscopy, ionic strength, protein aggregates
Depth filtration is a commonly-used bioprocessing unit operation for harvest clarification that reduces the levels of process- and product-related impurities such as cell debris, host-cell proteins, nucleic acids and protein aggregates. Since depth filters comprise multiple components, different functionalities may contribute to such retention, making the mechanisms by which different impurities are removed difficult to decouple. Here we probe the mechanisms by which double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) is retained on depth filter media by visualizing the distribution of fluorescently-labeled retained DNA on spent depth filter discs using confocal fluorescence microscopy. The extent of DNA displacement into the depth filter was found to increase with decreasing DNA length and with increasing operational parameters such as wash volume and buffer ionic strength. In addition, using 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine (EdU) to label DNA in dividing CHO cells, we showed that Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cellular DNA in the lysate supernatant migrates deeper into the depth filter than the lysate re-suspended pellet, elucidating the role of the size of the DNA in its form as an impurity. Apart from aiding DNA purification and removal, our experimental approaches and findings can be leveraged in studying the transport and retention of nucleic acids and other impurities on depth filters at a small scale.