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ACS Nano. 2014 Jun 24;8(6):6171-81. doi: 10.1021/nn5015962. Epub 2014 May 13.

DNA dendrimer: an efficient nanocarrier of functional nucleic acids for intracellular molecular sensing.

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Molecular Science and Biomedicine Laboratory, State Key Laboratory for Chemo/Bio-Sensing and Chemometrics, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, College of Biology, and Collaborative Research Center of Molecular Engineering for Theranostics, Hunan University , Changsha 410082, China.


Functional nucleic acid (FNA)-based sensing systems have been developed for efficient detection of a wide range of biorelated analytes by employing DNAzymes or aptamers as recognition units. However, their intracellular delivery has always been a concern, mainly in delivery efficiency, kinetics, and the amount of delivered FNAs. Here we report a DNA dendrimer scaffold as an efficient nanocarrier to deliver FNAs and to conduct in situ monitoring of biological molecules in living cells. A histidine-dependent DNAzyme and an anti-ATP aptamer were chosen separately as the model FNAs to make the FNA dendrimer. The FNA-embedded DNA dendrimers maintained the catalytic activity of the DNAzyme or the aptamer recognition function toward ATP in the cellular environment, with no change in sensitivity or specificity. Moreover, these DNA dendrimeric nanocarriers show excellent biocompatibility, high intracellular delivery efficiency, and sufficient stability in a cellular environment. This FNA dendrimeric nanocarrier may find a broad spectrum of applications in biomedical diagnosis and therapy.

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