Host-guest-mediated DNA templation of polycationic supramolecules for hierarchical nanocondensation and the delivery of gene material
Only a few examples of monodisperse molecular entities that can compact exogenous nucleic acids into nanocomplexes, protect the cargo from the biological environment, facilitate cell internalization, and promote safe transfection have been reported up to date. Although these species open new venues for fundamental studies on the structural requirements that govern the intervening processes and their application in nonviral gene-vector design, the synthesis of these moieties generally requires a relatively sophisticated chemistry, which hampers further development in gene therapy. Herein, we report an original strategy for the reversible complexation and delivery of DNA based on the supramolecular preorganization of a ß-cyclodextrin-scaffolded polycationic cluster facilitated by bisadamantane guests. The resulting gemini-type, dual-cluster supramolecules can then undergo DNA-templated self-assembly at neutral pH¿value by bridging parallel DNA oligonucleotide fragments. This hierarchical DNA condensation mechanism affords transfectious nanoparticles with buffering capabilities, thus facilitating endosomal escape following cell internalization. Protonation also destabilizes the supramolecular dimers and consequently the whole supramolecular edifice, thus assisting DNA release. Our advanced hypotheses are supported by isothermal titration calorimetry, NMR and circular dichroism spectroscopic analysis, gel electrophoresis, dynamic light scattering, TEM, molecular mechanics, molecular dynamics, and transfection studies conducted in vitro and in vivo.