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Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:734596. doi: 10.1155/2013/734596. Epub 2013 May 29.

Delivery of RNA and its intracellular translation into protein mediated by SDS-CTAB vesicles: potential use in nanobiotechnology.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie Charles Darwin, Sapienza Università di Roma, Roma, Italy.


Catanionic vesicles are supramolecular aggregates spontaneously forming in water by electrostatic attraction between two surfactants mixed in nonstoichiometric ratios. The outer surface charges allow adsorption to the biomembrane by electrostatic interactions. The lipoplex thus obtained penetrates the cell by endocytosis or membrane fusion. We examined the possible cytotoxic effects and evaluated the transfection efficiency of one vesicle type as compared to known commercial carriers. We show that the individual components of two different vesicles types, CTAB (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide) and DDAB (didodecyldimethylammonium bromide) are detrimental for cell survival. We also assayed the cytotoxicity of SDS-DDAB vesicles and showed dose and time dependency, with the DDAB component being per se extremely cytotoxic. The transfection efficiency of exogenous RNA mediated by SDS-CTAB increases if vesicles assemble in the presence of the reporter RNA; finally, freezing abrogates the transfection ability. The results of our experimental strategy suggest that catanionic vesicles may be adopted in gene therapy and control of antiproliferative diseases.

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