This article from Issue 13 of the Analytix Reporter demonstrates the ability of TSKgel® UP-SW2000 size exclusion chromatography (SEC) columns to distinguish between oligonucleotide species differing by one base in length. To further analyse oligonucleotides and impurities present, a LENS3® multi angle light scattering (MALS) detector was used to acquire more information on their molecular weights. 

Oligonucleotide’s importance in the generation of new pharmaceutical therapies have been increasingly evolving in recent years with 10 FDA approved therapies in 2020. This emerging field of therapies often requires improved or alternative analytical methods to accelerate development and assure the safety of the drug. This article describes the ability of ultra-high performance size exclusion chromatography to distinguish N and N-1 oligonucleotide species.

In recent years, several oligonucleotide drugs for gene silencing, such as short interfering RNA (siRNA) and antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) have been approved and microRNA (miRNA) and aptamers are being developed as therapeutic platforms. The promising CRISPR-Cas system also requires a specific RNA moiety - guiding RNA - to recruit and direct the Cas nuclease activity.

Therapeutic oligonucleotides are produced through a synthetic, solid-phase chemical synthesis. Despite improvements in oligonucleotide synthesis, and despite the most ardent post-synthesis clean-up, there will be some heterogeneity with regards to oligonucleotide distribution. Monitoring of impurities in this distribution is a fundamental aspect of process and quality control. This fundamental assessment is typically done by capillary gel electrophoresis (CGE) or anion exchange chromatography. Here, we present the ability of size exclusion chromatography to discriminate oligonucleotides differing by one base in length. The 2 μm silica-based stationary phase, TSKgel® UP-SW2000, with a pore size of 125 Å, was used in combination with UHPLC and UHPLC-MALS systems.

Analysis of Oligonucleotides by SEC
TSKgel® UP-SW2000 is a recently developed silica-based 2 μm, 125 Å pore size SEC column designed for the separation of small proteins, peptides, and oligonucleotides. The column can be used in both HPLC and UHPLC systems and is ideally suited for method transfer from conventional silica-based size exclusion columns to UHPLC technology. Two, 30 cm TSKgel® UP-SW2000 columns in series were used to analyze a mixture of two oligonucleotides differing by only one base.

For full experimental conditions and results refer to the full article.

TSKgel® UP-SW2000 is a size exclusion column designed for UHPLC analysis of biomolecules of a molecular weight of 1 to 150 kDa. The separation range is ideally suited to analyze small proteins or peptides and their aggregates. This study shows that this column can also be used to analyze oligonucleotides by (U)HPLC. Multi-angle light scattering detection delivers additional information on the molecular weight of the oligonucleotide and any impurities present in the sample.


Published  Jan 11, 2023

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