Mechanism of sequence‐based separation of single‐stranded DNA in capillary zone electrophoresis
Separation of DNA by length using CGE is a mature field. Separation of DNA by sequence, in contrast, is a more difficult problem. Existing techniques generally rely upon changes in intrinsic or induced differences in conformation. Previous work in our group showed that sets of ssDNA of the same length differing in sequence by as little as a single base could be separated by CZE using simple buffers at high ionic strength. Here, we explore the basis of the separation using circular dichroism spectroscopy, fluorescence anisotropy, and small angle X‐ray scattering. The results reveal sequence‐dependent differences among the same length strands, but the trends in the differences are not correlated to the migration order of the strands in the CZE separation. They also indicate that the separation is based on intrinsic differences among the strands that do not change with increasing ionic strength; rather, increasing ionic strength has a greater effect on electroosmotic mobility in the normal direction than on electrophoretic mobility of the strands in the reverse direction. This increases the migration time of the strands in the normal direction, allowing more time for the same‐length strands to be teased apart based on very small differences in the intrinsic properties of the strands of different sequence. Regression analysis was used to model the intrinsic differences among DNA strands in order to gain insight into the relationship between mobility and sequence that underlies the separation.
Circular dichroism, DNA structure, Fluorescence, Anisotropy, Biochemistry