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Isothermal Self-Assembly of Spermidine–DNA Nanostructure Complex as a Functional Platform for Cancer Therapy

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journal contribution
posted on 13.04.2018 by Dong Wang, Qian Liu, Di Wu, Binfeng He, Jin Li, Chengde Mao, Guansong Wang, Hang Qian
Programmable DNA nanostructure self-assembly offers great potentials in nanomedicine, drug delivery, biosensing, and bioimaging. However, due to the intrinsically negatively charged DNA backbones, the instability of DNA nanostructures in physiological settings poses serious challenges to their practical applications. To overcome this challenge, a strategy that combines the magnesium-free DNA self-assembly and functionalization is proposed in this study. We hypothesize that naturally abundant spermidine may not only mediate the self-assembly of DNA nanostructures, but also shield them from harsh physiological environments. As a proof of concept, a DNA nanoprism is designed and synthesized successfully through spermidine. It is found that spermidine can mediate the isothermal self-assembly of DNA nanoprisms. Compared to conventional Mg2+-assembled DNA nanostructures, the spermidine–DNA nanoprism complex shows higher thermal stability and better enzymatic resistance than Mg2+-assembled DNA nanoprisms, and more importantly, it has a much higher cellular uptake efficacy in multiple cancerous cell lines. The internalization mechanism is identified as clathrin-mediated endocytosis. To demonstrate the suitability of this new nanomaterial for biomedical applications, an mTOR siRNA, after being conjugated into the complex, is efficiently delivered into cancer cells and shows excellent gene knockdown efficacy and anticancer capability. These findings indicate that the spermidine–DNA complex nanomaterials might be a promising platform for biomedical applications in the future.