Enzyme-free synthesis of cyclic single-stranded DNA constructs containing a single triazole, amide or phosphoramidate backbone linkage and their use as templates for rolling circle amplification and nanoflower formation

J. Chen, Y. R. Baker, A. Brown, A. H. El-Sagheer and T. Brown. Chem. Sci. 9, 8110-8120, 2018.


Cyclic oligonucleotides are valuable targets with a broad range of potential applications spanning molecular biology and nanotechnology. Of particular importance is their role as templates in the rolling circle amplification (RCA) reaction. We describe three different chemical cyclisation methods for the preparation of single-stranded cyclic DNA constructs. These chemical cyclisation reactions are cheaper to carry out than the enzymatic reaction, and more amenable to preparative scale purification and characterisation of the cyclic product. They can also be performed under denaturing conditions and are therefore particularly valuable for cyclic DNA templates that contain secondary structures. The resulting single-stranded cyclic DNA constructs contain a single non-canonical backbone linkage at the ligation point (triazole, amide or phosphoramidate). They were compared to unmodified cyclic DNA in rolling circle amplification reactions using ?-29 and Bst 2.0 DNA polymerase enzymes. The cyclic templates containing a phosphoramidate linkage were particularly well tolerated by ?-29 polymerase, consistently performing as well in RCA as the unmodified DNA controls. Moreover, these phosphoramidate-modified cyclic constructs can be readily produced in oligonucleotide synthesis facilities from commercially available precursors. Phosphoramidate ligation therefore holds promise as a practical, scalable method for the synthesis of fully biocompatible cyclic RCA templates. The triazole-modified cyclic templates generally gave lower and more variable yields of RCA products, a significant proportion of which were double-stranded, while the performances of the templates containing an amide linkage lie in between those of the phosphoramidate- and triazole-containing templates.