Three RNA Microenvironments Detected in Fluxional Gene Delivery Polyplex Nanoassemblies

Anisha Shakya, Hashim M. Al-Hashimi, Mark M. Banaszak Holl

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Prototropic and solvatochromatic properties of fluorescein (FL) were employed to detect the presence of microenvironments in polyplexes consisting of polycationic polymer (POCP) and a fluorescein-conjugated RNA, the HIV-1 transactivation response element (TAR-FL). Results reveal new aspects of polyplex structure with respect to polyplex-bound RNA existing in the following local microenvironments: (a) RNA associated with the polyplex that experiences local pH changes in a manner dependent on POCP nitrogen to RNA phosphate ratio (N:P), (b) RNA experiencing relatively acidic local pH environment that remains constant in polyplexes formed after a charge-neutral ratio, and (c) RNA packed close enough to mediate fluorophore/fluorophore quenching. The magnitude of these changes observed as a function of POCP to nucleic acid N:P ratio is polymer dependent. Assessment of the different microenvironments can help elucidate the functional hierarchy of polyplex-bound oligonucleotides and additionally characterize POCPs based on the resulting local pH and solvent properties upon polyplex formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1104-1108
Number of pages5
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes

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