Selective and Efficient RNA Analysis by Solid-Phase Microextraction

Omprakash Nacham, Kevin D. Clark, Marcelino Varona, Jared L. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In this study, a solid-phase microextraction (SPME) method was developed for the purification of mRNA (mRNA) from complex biological samples using a real-time reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) assay for quantification. The chemical composition of the polymeric ionic liquid (PIL) and a polyacrylate (PA) SPME sorbent coating was optimized to enhance the extraction performance. Of the studied SPME sorbent coatings, the PIL containing carboxylic acid moieties in the monomer and halide-based anions extracted the highest amount of mRNA from aqueous solutions, whereas the native PA fiber showed the lowest extraction efficiency. On the basis of RT-qPCR data, electrostatic interactions and an ion-exchange mechanism between the negatively charged phosphate backbone of RNA and the PIL cation framework were the major driving forces for mRNA extraction. The optimized PIL-based SPME method purified a high quantity of mRNA from crude yeast cell lysate compared to a phenol/chloroform extraction method. The reusability and robustness of PIL-based SPME for RNA analysis represents a significant advantage over conventional silica-based solid-phase RNA extraction kits. The selectivity of the SPME method toward mRNA was enhanced by functionalizing the PA sorbent with oligo dT20 using carbodiimide-based amide linker chemistry. The oligo dT20-modified PA sorbent coating demonstrated superior extraction performance than the native PA sorbent coating with quantification cycle (Cq) values 33.74 ± 0.24 and 39, respectively. The modified PA sorbent extracted sufficient mRNA from total RNA at concentrations as low as 5 ng μL-1 in aqueous solutions without the use of organic solvents and time-consuming multiple centrifugation steps that are required in traditional RNA extraction methods. (Graph Presented).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10661-10666
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 17 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge funding from Chemical Measurement and Imaging Program at the National Science Foundation (Grant Number CHE-1709372).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


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