New insight into formation of DNA-containing microparticles during PCR: the scaffolding role of magnesium pyrophosphate crystals

<p>This work aims to study molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of DNA-containing microparticles and nanoparticles during PCR. Both pyrophosphate and Mg<sup>2+</sup> ions proved to play an important role in the generation of DNA microparticles (MPs) with a unique and sophisticated structure in PCR with <i>Taq</i> polymerase. Thus, the addition of <i>Tli</i> thermostable pyrophosphatase to a PCR mixture inhibited this process and caused the destruction of synthesized DNA MPs. Thermal cycling of Na-pyrophosphate (Na-PPi)- and Mg<sup>2+</sup>-containing mixtures (without DNA polymerase and dNTPs) under the standard PCR regime yielded crystalline oval or lenticular microdisks and 3D MPs composed from magnesium pyrophosphate (Mg-PPi). As shown by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), the produced Mg-PPi microparticles consisted of intersecting disks or their segments. They were morphologically similar but simpler than DNA-containing MPs generated in PCR. The incorporation of dNTPs, primers, or dsDNA into Mg-pyrophosphate particles resulted in the structural diversification of 3D microparticles. Thus, the unusual and complex structure of DNA MPs generated in PCR is governed by the unique feature of Mg-pyrophosphate to form supramolecular particles during thermal cycling. We hypothesize the Mg-pyrophosphate particles that are produced during thermal cycling serve as scaffolds for amplicon DNA condensation.</p>