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Biomacromolecules. 2004 Jul-Aug;5(4):1256-61.

Nanostructures of complexes formed by calf thymus DNA interacting with cationic surfactants.

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Department of Chemistry, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Long Island, New York 11794-3400, USA.


Synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering was used to study the nanostructures of the complexes formed by calf thymus DNA interacting with cationic lipids (or surfactants) of didodecyldimethylammonium bromide (DDAB), cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), and their mixture with a zwitterionic lipid of 1-palmitoyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (PHGPC). The effects of lipid/DNA ratios, DNA chain flexibility, lipid topology, and neutral lipid mixing on the nanostructures of DNA-lipid complexes were investigated. The complexes between double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and double-tailed DDAB formed a bilayered lamellar structure, whereas the complexes between dsDNA and single-tailed CTAB preferred a structure of 2D hexagonal close packing of cylinders. With single stranded DNA (ssDNA) interacting with CTAB, the complexes showed a Pm3n cubic structure due to the different chain flexibility between dsDNA and ssDNA. The lipid molecules bound by rigid dsDNA like to form cylindrical micelles, whereas lipids bound to flexible ssDNA could form spherical or short cylindrical micelles. The addition of the neutral single-chained PHGPC lipids to the CTAB lipids could induce a structural transition of dsDNA-lipid complexes from a 2D hexagonal to a multi-bilayered lamellar structure. The parallel DNA strands were intercalated in the water layers of lamellar stacks of the mixed lipid bilayers. The DNA-DNA spacing depended on the ratios of charged lipid to neutral lipid, and charged lipid to DNA, respectively.

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