Adeno-associated virus characterization for cargo discrimination through nanopore responsiveness†
Solid-state nanopore (SSN)-based analytical methods have found abundant use in genomics and proteomics with fledgling contributions to virology – a clinically critical field with emphasis on both infectious and designer-drug carriers. Here we demonstrate the ability of SSN to successfully discriminate adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) based on their genetic cargo [double-stranded DNA (AAVdsDNA), single-stranded DNA (AAVssDNA) or none (AAVempty)], devoid of digestion steps, through nanopore-induced electro-deformation (characterized by relative current change; ΔI/I0). The deformation order was found to be AAVempty > AAVssDNA > AAVdsDNA. A deep learning algorithm was developed by integrating support vector machine with an existing neural network, which successfully classified AAVs from SSN resistive-pulses (characteristic of genetic cargo) with >95% accuracy – a potential tool for clinical and biomedical applications. Subsequently, the presence of AAVempty in spiked AAVdsDNA was flagged using the ΔI/I0 distribution characteristics of the two types for mixtures composed of ∼75 : 25% and ∼40 : 60% (in concentration) AAVempty : AAVdsDNA.