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Programmable Self-Assembly of Protein-Scaffolded DNA Nanohydrogels for Tumor-Targeted Imaging and Therapy

Li, Na, Wang, Xiu-Yan, Xiang, Mei-Hao, Liu, Jin-Wen, Yu, Ru-Qin, Jiang, Jian-Hui
Analytical chemistry 2019 v.91 no.4 pp. 2610-2614
DNA, biocompatibility, drug carriers, fluorescence, hydrogels, image analysis, neoplasm cells, neoplasms, oligonucleotides, streptavidin
DNA hydrogels are biocompatible and are suitable for many biomedical applications. However, to be useful imaging probes or drug carriers, the ordinary bulk size of DNA hydrogels must be overcome. Here we put forward a new strategy for fabricating a novel and simple protein-scaffolded DNA nanohydrogel, constructed through a direct DNA self-assembly using three types of streptavidin (SA)-based DNA tetrad for the activation of imaging and targeting therapy of cancer cells. The DNA nanohydrogels are easily prepared, and we show that by varying the initial concentration of DNA tetrad, it is possible to finely control their size within nanoscale range, which are favorable as carriers for intracellular imaging and transport. By further incorporating therapeutic agents and tumor-targeting MUC1 aptamer, these multifunctionalized SA-scaffolded DNA nanohydrogels (SDH) can specifically target cancer cells and selectively release the preloaded therapeutic agents via a structure switching when in an ATP-rich intracellular environment, leading to the activation of the fluorescence and efficient treatment of cancer cells. With the advantages of facile modular design and assembly, effective cellular uptake, and excellent biocompatibility, the method reported here has the potential for the development of new tunable DNA nanohydrogels with multiple synergistic functionalities for biological and biomedical applications.