Effect of the head-group geometry of amino acid-based cationic surfactants on interaction with plasmid DNA
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The interaction between DNA and different types of amino acid-based cationic surfactants was investigated. Particular attention was directed to determine the extent of influence of surfactant head-group geometry toward tuning the interaction behavior of these surfactants with DNA. An overview is obtained by gel retardation assay, isothermal titration calorimetry, fluorescence spectroscopy, and circular dichroism at different mole ratios of surfactant/DNA; also, cell viability was assessed. The studies show that the surfactants with more complex/ bulkier hydrophobic head group interact more strongly with DNA but exclude ethidium bromide less efficiently; thus, the accessibility of DNA to small molecules is preserved to a certain extent. The presence of more hydrophobic groups surrounding the positive amino charge also gave rise to a significantly lower cytotoxicity. The surfactant self-assembly pattern is quite different without and with DNA, illustrating the roles of electrostatic and steric effects in determining the effective shape of a surfactant molecule.