Cationic shell-crosslinked knedel-like nanoparticles for highly efficient gene and oligonucleotide transfection of mammalian cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this work, a robust synthetic nanostructure was designed for the effective packaging of DNA and it was shown to be an efficient agent for cell transfection. An amphiphilic block copolymer, poly(acrylamidoethylamine)(128)-b-polystyrene(40) (PAEA(128)-b-PS(40)), was synthesized, micellized in water and shell-crosslinked using a diacid-derivatized crosslinker, to give cationic shell-crosslinked nanoparticles (cSCKs) with a mean hydrodynamic diameter of 14 +/- 2 nm. A series of discrete complexes of the cSCKs with plasmid DNA (pDNA) was able to be formed over a broad range of polymer amine:pDNA phosphate ratios (N/P ratio), 2:1-20:1. The sizes of the complexes and their ability to fully bind the pDNA were dependent upon the N/P ratio, as characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and gel retardation assay. A luciferase activity assay and EGFP expression were used to evaluate intracellular delivery of a splice-correcting phosphorothioate and genetic material, respectively, by the cSCKs, which indicated that an N/P ratio of 6:1 gave the highest transfection. It was shown by both luciferase activity assay (48 h) and EGFP transfection data that high transfection efficiencies were achieved for HeLa cells transfected by cSCK/CCUCUUACCUCAGUUACA and cSCK/pEGFP-N1 plasmid, respectively. The cSCK/pEGFP-N1 plasmid transfection efficiency of 27% far exceeded the performance of Polyfect (PAMAM dendrimers), which achieved only 12% transfection efficiency, under the same conditions. Cytotoxicities for the cSCKs were evaluated for HeLa and CHO cells.

published proceedings

  • Biomaterials

altmetric score

  • 8.472

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, K. e., Fang, H., Wang, Z., Taylor, J., & Wooley, K. L.

citation count

  • 53

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Ke||Fang, Huafeng||Wang, Zhenghui||Taylor, John-Stephen A||Wooley, Karen L

publication date

  • February 2009