Diamond cubic phase of monoolein and water as an amphiphilic matrix for electrophoresis of oligonucleotides
Journal article, 2005
We used a cubic liquid crystal formed by the nonionic monoglyceride monoolein and water as a porous matrix for the electrophoresis of oligonucleotides. The diamond cubic phase is thermodynamically stable when in contact with a water-rich phase, which we exploit to run the electrophoresis in the useful submarine mode. Oligonucleotides are separated according to size and secondary structure by migration through the space-filling aqueous nanometer pores of the regular liquid crystal, but the comparatively slow migration means the cubic phase will not be a replacement for the conventional DNA gels. However, our demonstration that the cubic phase can be used in submarine electrophoresis opens up the possibility for a new matrix for electrophoresis of amphiphilic molecules. From this perspective, the results on the oligonucleotides show that water-soluble particles of nanometer size, typical for the hydrophilic parts of membrane-bound proteins, may be a useful separation motif. A charged contamination in the commercial sample of monoolein, most likely oleic acid that arises from its hydrolysis, restricts useful buffer conditions to a pH below 5.6.