Spin columns are a staple piece of plastic-ware used to purify and cleanup nucleic acids, (such as DNA/RNA) or proteins, directly from cultured cells. The columns usually contain some quantity of silica; known to bind free nucleic acids. Columns have been developed to be cheap, quick and efficient at removing multiple contaminants.
Main Steps of Spin Column Use
Lysis – Cells are broken up to release nucleic acids.
Binding – The addition of the lysed sample to a buffer solution and ethanol/isopropanol forms a binding solution. This solution is pipetted into the column and centrifuged, forcing the solution through the silica membrane, to which the nucleic acids bind.
Washing – After centrifugation, the flow-through liquid is discarded and wash buffer is pipetted into the column and centrifuged, so as to remove any impurities.
Elution – After disposing of the wash buffer, an elution buffer is added and centrifuged. The nucleic acid then collects in the follow-through liquid and can be stored or used for downstream research purposes.