Applied microbiology and biotechnology

A novel method to produce armored double-stranded DNA by encapsulation of MS2 viral capsids.

PMID 25981999


With the rapid development of molecular diagnostic techniques, there is a growing need for quality controls and standards with favorable properties to monitor the entire detection process. In this study, we describe a novel method to produce armored hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA for use in nucleic acid tests, which was confirmed to be stable, homogeneous, noninfectious, nuclease resistant, and safe for shipping. We demonstrated that MS2 bacteriophage could successfully package double-stranded DNA of 1.3-, 3-, 3.5-, and 6.5-kb length into viral capsids with high reassembly efficiency. This is the first application of RNA bacteriophage MS2 as a platform to encapsulate double-stranded DNA, forming virus-like particles (VLPs) which were indistinguishable from native MS2 capsids in size and morphology. Moreover, by analyzing the interaction mechanism of pac site and the MS2 coat protein (CP), we found that in addition to the recognized initiation signal TR-RNA, TR-DNA can also trigger spontaneous reassembly of CP dimers, providing a more convenient and feasible method of assembly. In conclusion, this straightforward and reliable manufacturing approach makes armored DNA an ideal control and standard for use in clinical laboratory tests and diagnostics, possessing prospects for broad application, especially providing a new platform for the production of quality controls for DNA viruses.