Logo der Universität Wien

Project 5

New separation media for plasmid DNA isoform analysis and purification

Supervisor: Prof. Michael Lämmerhofer

Student: Andrea Gargano

Plasmids are small DNA molecules (identified under the name of pDNA) separated from the chromosomic DNA of cells and capable of autonomous replication. They are mainly present in bacterial cells even if some have been found in eukaryotes.

Their structure is composed of a double stranded DNA chain, constituted by a sequence of nucleotides expressing proteins that under stress condition can be helpful for the cell survival, playing a significant role in bacteria adaptation and evolution.

The usual size varies between 1 and 200kb (1kb equals to 1000base pairs), normally in circular forms (although linear forms have been identified as well).
Bacterial cells can carry more than one type of this DNA molecules, making the cell more capable of adaptation under different conditions [1].

Plasmids are studied for their biological functions in bacteria and for their use as vectors for production of recombinant proteins in host cells. Gene technology in fact permits to obtain artificial plasmids, carrying sequences that encode for proteins of interest that can be then expressed in prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells. This technology is currently adopted in the production of the so called GMOs (genetically modified organisms) but it is also studied for the potential production of new therapeutic medication for humans (see paragraph about plasmids as therapeutic agents).

The creation of a fast and robust method that guarantee the quality of produced or isolated pDNA batches is something that still has to be achieved and for this reason it is of particular research interest in the field of separation science.

[1] Schleef, M. and T. Schmidt, Animal-free production of ccc-supercoiled plasmids for research and clinical applications. J. Gene Med., 2004. 6(S1): p. S45-S53.

Initiativkolleg Functional Molecules
Währinger Str. 38
1090 Wien
T: +43 1 4277 70809
Universität Wien | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Wien | T +43-1-4277-0