Differential Interactions of Chiral Nanocapsules with DNA.


Amani Zoabi and Katherine Margulis. 2021. “Differential Interactions of Chiral Nanocapsules with DNA.” International journal of molecular sciences, 22, 2.


(1) Background: Chiral nanoparticular systems have recently emerged as a compelling platform for investigating stereospecific behavior at the nanoscopic level. We describe chiroselective supramolecular interactions that occur between DNA oligonucleotides and chiral polyurea nanocapsules. (2) Methods: We employ interfacial polyaddition reactions between toluene 2,4-diisocyanate and lysine enantiomers that occur in volatile oil-in-water nanoemulsions to synthesize hollow, solvent-free capsules with average sizes of approximately 300 nm and neutral surface potential. (3) Results: The resultant nanocapsules exhibit chiroptical activity and interact differentially with single stranded DNA oligonucleotides despite the lack of surface charge and, thus, the absence of significant electrostatic interactions. Preferential binding of DNA on D-polyurea nanocapsules compared to their L-counterparts is demonstrated by a fourfold increase in capsule size, a 50% higher rise in the absolute value of negative zeta potential ($\zeta$-potential), and a three times lower free DNA concentration after equilibration with the excess of DNA. (4) Conclusions: We infer that the chirality of the novel polymeric nanocapsules affects their supramolecular interactions with DNA, possibly through modification of the surface morphology. These interactions can be exploited when developing carriers for gene therapy and theranostics. The resultant constructs are expected to be highly biocompatible due to their neutral potential and biodegradability of polyurea shells.