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Anal Biochem. 2008 Oct 1;381(1):172-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2008.06.037. Epub 2008 Jul 4.

Method to eliminate linear DNA from mixture containing nicked circular, supercoiled, and linear plasmid DNA.

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Department of Radiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Preparations of circular plasmid DNA in either supercoiled or nicked circular form often are contaminated with undesired linear DNA fragments arising from shearing/degradation of chromosomal DNA or linearization of plasmid DNA itself. We report a simple enzymatic method, using a combination of lambda exonuclease and RecJ(f), for the selective removal of linear DNA from such mixtures. lambda exonuclease digests one strand of linear duplex DNA in the 5' to 3' direction, whereas RecJ(f), a single-strand-specific exonuclease, digests the remaining complementary single strand into mononucleotides. This combination of exonucleases can remove linear DNA from a mixture of linear and supercoiled DNA, leaving the supercoiled form intact. Furthermore, the inability of lambda exonuclease to initiate digestion at nicks or gaps enables the removal of undesired linear DNA when nicked circular DNA has been enzymatically prepared from supercoiled DNA. This method can be useful in the preparation of homogeneous circular plasmid DNA required for therapeutic applications and biophysical studies.

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