Send to

Choose Destination
Biomacromolecules. 2004 May-Jun;5(3):928-36.

Structural analysis of chitosan mediated DNA condensation by AFM: influence of chitosan molecular parameters.

Author information

Department of Physics, NOBIPOL, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway.


Chitosan is a nontoxic and biodegradable polysaccharide that has recently emerged as a promising candidate for gene delivery. Here the ability of various chitosans, differing in the fractional content of acetylated units (F(A)) and the degree of polymerization (DP), to compact DNA was studied. Polyplexes made from mixing plasmid DNA with chitosan yielded a blend of toroids and rods, as observed by AFM. The ratios between the fractions of toroids and rods were observed to decrease with increasing F(A) of the chitosan, indicating that the charge density of chitosan, proportional to (1 - F(A)), is important in determining the shape of the compacted DNA. The amount of chitosan required to fully compact DNA into well-defined toroidal and rodlike structures were found to be strongly dependent on the chitosan molecular weight, and thus its total charge. A higher charge ratio (+/-) was needed for the shorter chitosans, showing that an increased concentration of the low DP chitosan could compensate for the reduced interaction strength of the individual ligands with DNA. Employing chitosans with different molecular parameters offers the possibility of designing DNA-chitosan polyplexes with various geometries, reflecting various chitosan-DNA interaction strengths, which is necessary for the evaluation of efficient gene delivery vehicles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center