Highly specific enrichment of rare nucleic acid fractions using Thermus thermophilus argonaute with applications in cancer diagnostics

Jinzhao Song*, Jorrit W. Hegge, Michael G. Mauk, Junman Chen, Jacob E. Till, Neha Bhagwat, Lotte T. Azink, Jing Peng, Moen Sen, Jazmine Mays, Erica L. Carpenter, John van der Oost, Haim H. Bau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Detection of disease-associated, cell-free nucleic acids in body fluids enables early diagnostics, genotyping and personalized therapy, but is challenged by the low concentrations of clinically significant nucleic acids and their sequence homology with abundant wild-type nucleic acids. We describe a novel approach, dubbed NAVIGATER, for increasing the fractions of Nucleic Acids of clinical interest Via DNA-Guided Argonaute from Thermus thermophilus (TtAgo). TtAgo cleaves specifically guide-complementary DNA and RNA with single nucleotide precision, greatly increasing the fractions of rare alleles and, enhancing the sensitivity of downstream detection methods such as ddPCR, sequencing, and clamped enzymatic amplification. We demonstrated 60-fold enrichment of the cancer biomarker KRAS G12D and ∼100-fold increased sensitivity of Peptide Nucleic Acid (PNA) and Xenonucleic Acid (XNA) clamp PCR, enabling detection of low-frequency (<0.01%) mutant alleles (∼1 copy) in blood samples of pancreatic cancer patients. NAVIGATER surpasses Cas9-based assays (e.g. DASH, Depletion of Abundant Sequences by Hybridization), identifying more mutation-positive samples when combined with XNA-PCR. Moreover, TtAgo does not require targets to contain any specific protospacer-adjacent motifs (PAM); is a multi-turnover enzyme; cleaves ssDNA, dsDNA and RNA targets in a single assay; and operates at elevated temperatures, providing high selectivity and compatibility with polymerases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e19
JournalNucleic acids research
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2020

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