DNA with amphiphilic counterions: tuning colloidal DNA with cyclodextrin

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DNA compaction in vitro can be controlled by lipids. Cyclodextrins can disperse lipids in the form of water soluble inclusion complexes, thus tuning their self-assembly. To progress in the fundamental understanding of double-stranded (ds) DNA-lipid-cyclodextrin interactions, the aqueous phase behavior of a cationic surfactant (dodecyltrimethylammonium, DTA)-dsDNA compound in the presence of cyclodextrin (hydroxypropyl-beta-cyclodextrin, HPbCD, or beta-cyclodextrin, beta CD) was investigated. beta CD has a low water solubility due to the formation of stable crystals. The more hydrophobic HPbCD, on the other hand, is highly water soluble because the bulky HP substitution destabilizes the crystalline state. Both beta CD and HP beta CD form strong inclusion complexes with DTA, with an essentially infinite binding constant, and the DNA self-assembly behavior is controlled by the molar ratio R [DTA]/[CD], in addition to the DNA concentration. DTA-DNA can be solubilized in the isotropic liquid phase of water and HPbCD when R <= 1. This phase is micelle free and from the sharp phase boundary at R 1 it is concluded that HPbCD does not associate with DNA, only with DTA. Increasing the DTA-DNA concentration, keeping R < 1, leads to the formation of a liquid crystal with 2D hexagonally ordered DNA. With a further increase of the DTA-DNA and R > 1.5-2, a second, novel, anisotropic phase is formed that we identify as having a tetragonal lattice. In this phase, the DNA duplexes are still parallel but with a simple square rather than a hexagonal packing. The periodicity in the direction of the DNA duplexes is coupled to the DNA pitch length, 3.3 nm. With beta CD, the phase behavior is less rich because of the poor water solubility of the cyclodextrin. Here, only a very small hexagonal phase region is formed in the center of the ternary phase diagram, with R similar or equal to 1.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4988-4994
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch