Upping the Throughput
CUBRC has reportedly developed a method that enables rapid and sequential isolation of protein and nucleic acids. The CUBRC approach sequentially purifies PCR-ready nucleic acids and immune-reactive proteins for subsequent analysis from a single sample on an automated system.
Isolation of the nucleic acid fraction utilizes Akonni Biosystems’ TruTip™ nucleic acid isolation procedure, which can extract DNA, RNA, and proteins from samples such as blood, culture, sputum, saliva, nasal swab, or urine, and is applicable for near point-of-care clinical research and forensic applications. The workflow, from lysis and binding to washing, drying, and elution, takes place in a microtube.
A unique aspect of the Akonni TruTip approach is the use of an untreated, solid pored glass matrix formed inside the microtube, in which channels are created as the glass hardens. When a sample flows through these small channels, the DNA or RNA molecules present in the sample bind to the glass matrix; the binding properties will vary depending on the buffers used.
The matrix comes in two forms—one for more viscous and one for less viscous samples. The company has also configured its matrix for insertion into most standard pipette tips, which can be used with both electronic pipettes and automated pipetting stations.
The key, says Kevin Banks, Ph.D., vp of sales and marketing at Akonni, is “to optimize the matrix density and configure the extraction protocol to the sample and material to be extracted.”
The Akonni method offers advantages in speed (the entire workflow takes in four minutes) and portability, as its EDP®3-Plus pipette solutions require no centrifugation or other processing that would necessitate electricity, Dr. Banks says. As a result, it is applicable for in-the-field use.
More recently, the company introduced high-throughput, fully automated capabilities for influenza extraction from nasopharyngeal swab extracts and for genomic DNA from saliva. Under a co-marketing agreement with Eppendorf, a custom-sized glass matrix was developed for the epMotion® automated pipetting system that can isolate nucleic acids from 24 samples in one run in less than 15 minutes, processing eight samples at a time.
In the future, Akonni intends to introduce a PCR product cleanup version compatible with a 96-tip pipettor. Ultimately, Dr. Banks envisions targeting ultrahigh-throughput sample-preparation protocols suitable for use in large-scale genomic or forensic applications or, for example, for population-based infectious disease screening.