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Nucleic acid programmed polymeric nanomaterials for biological communication


A number of nucleic acid-polymer conjugates were synthesized, resulting in amphiphilic polymer-nucleic acid conjugates with the capability to self-assemble into a range of discrete nanoscale architectures. These nanomaterials, termed DNA-polymer amphiphile nanoparticles (DPA NPs), were studied with respect to their enzymatic processing by both endo- and exonucleases and further deployed as antisense genetic regulatory elements in live cultured human cells. DPA NPs were designed to act as substrates for both non sequence-specific exonucleases and a sequence-specific endonuclease. In all cases, nucleic acids arranged in the corona of spherical nanoparticles exhibited increased resistance to nucleolytic cleavage as compared to native single- or double-stranded analogues. For the exonucleases studied (Exonuclease III from E. Coli and phosphodiesterase I from Crotalus adamanteus), nanoparticle display retarded enzymatic processing by roughly a factor of five. For the endonuclease studied (Nt.CviPII), nanoparticle display prohibited virtually all enzyme activity on oligonucleotides within the nanoparticle shell. To test the ability of these materials to regulate mRNA levels in live cultured human cells, LPA (LNA-polymer amphiphile) NPs were designed to be perfectly complementary to a 20-base region of mRNA encoding the anti-apoptosis protein survivin. In this study two key observations were made. The first observation is that packaging LNA into spherical micellar nanoparticles serves to dramatically enhance cellular uptake of LNA based on flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy data. The second observation is that LPA NPs are capable of regulating mRNA levels by what is hypothesized to be activation of target mRNA for catalytic RNase H-mediated degradation. These materials represent a unique class of DNA delivery system capable of rendering nucleic acids with natural backbone chemistry resistant to nuclease degradation and further serving to deliver DNA into cells to facilitate depletion of mRNA levels in a sequence- specific fashion. Notably, the use of detergents, charge- neutralizing, or DNA-sequestering components are not required for these materials to be effective in cells

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