Amphiphilic DNA block copolymers: nucleic acid-polymer hybrid materials for diagnostics and biomedicine

Jan Zimmermann, Minseok Kwak, Andrew J Musser, Andreas Herrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


DNA-polymer conjugates have been recognized as versatile functional materials in many different fields ranging from nanotechnology to diagnostics and biomedicine. They combine the favorable properties of nucleic acids and synthetic polymers. Moreover, joining both structures with covalent bonds to form bioorganic hybrids allows for the tuning of specific properties or even the possibility of evolving completely new functions. One important class of this type of material is amphiphilic DNA block copolymers, which, due to microphase separation, can spontaneously adopt nanosized micelle morphologies with a hydrophobic core and a DNA corona. These DNA nano-objects have been explored as vehicles for targeted gene and drug delivery, and also as programmable nanoreactors for organic reactions. Key to the successful realization of these potential applications is that (1) DNA block copolymer conjugates can be fabricated in a fully automated fashion by employing a DNA synthesizer; (2) hydrophobic compounds can be loaded within their interior; and (3) they can be site-specifically functionalized by a convenient nucleic acid hybridization procedure. This chapter aims to broaden the range of biodiagnostic and biomedical applications of these materials by providing a comprehensive outline of the preparation and characterization of multifunctional DNA-polymer nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-66
Number of pages28
JournalMethods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
StatePublished - 2011


  • Base Sequence
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • DNA/chemistry
  • Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Light
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Nanomedicine/methods
  • Nanoparticles/chemistry
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Organophosphorus Compounds/chemistry
  • Polymers/chemical synthesis
  • Propylene Glycols/chemical synthesis
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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