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ACS Nano. 2020 Feb 5. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.9b09453. [Epub ahead of print]

Coating and Stabilization of Liposomes by Clathrin-Inspired DNA Self-Assembly.

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Department of Chemistry , University of Cambridge , Lensfield Road , Cambridge CB2 1EW , United Kingdom.
Department of Physics , University of Durham , Durham DH1 3LE , United Kingdom.
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology , Cambridge CB2 0QH , United Kingdom.
Cavendish Laboratory , University of Cambridge , Cambridge CB3 0HE , United Kingdom.
Instituto de Nanociencia de Aragón , University of Zaragoza , Zaragoza 50018 , Spain.
Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Aragón , University of Zaragoza-CSIC , Zaragoza 50009 , Spain.
ARAID Foundation, Government of Aragon , Zaragoza 50018 , Spain.


The self-assembly of the protein clathrin on biological membranes facilitates essential processes of endocytosis and has provided a source of inspiration for materials design by the highly ordered structural appearance. By mimicking the architecture of the protein building blocks and clathrin self-assemblies to coat liposomes with biomaterials, advanced hybrid carriers can be derived. Here, we present a method for fabricating DNA-coated liposomes by hydrophobically anchoring and subsequently connecting DNA-based triskelion structures on the liposome surface inspired by the assembly of the protein clathrin. Dynamic light scattering, ζ-potential, confocal microscopy, and cryo-electron microscopy measurements independently demonstrate successful DNA coating. Nanomechanical measurements conducted with atomic force microscopy show that the DNA coating enhances the mechanical stability of the liposomes relative to uncoated ones. Furthermore, we provide the possibility to reverse the coating process by triggering the disassembly of the DNA coats through a toehold-mediated displacement reaction. Our results describe a straightforward, versatile, and reversible approach for coating and stabilizing lipid vesicles through the assembly of rationally designed DNA structures. This method has potential for further development toward the ordered arrangement of tailored functionalities on the surface of liposomes and for applications as hybrid nanocarriers.


DNA nanotechnology; atomic force microscopy; biomimetics; clathrin; cryo-electron microscopy; liposome


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