Using temperature-sensitive smart polymers to regulate DNA-mediated nanoassembly and encoded nanocarrier drug release

Kristen L. Hamner, Colleen M. Alexander, Kaitlin Coopersmith, David Reishofer, Christina Provenza, Mathew M. Maye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


In this paper we describe the use of a temperature-responsive polymer to regulate DNA interactions in both a DNA-mediated assembly system and a DNA-encoded drug delivery system. A thermoresponsive pNIPAAm-co-pAAm polymer, with a transition temperature (TC) of 51 C, was synthesized with thiol modification and grafted onto gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) also containing single-stranded oligonucleotides (ssDNA). The thermoresponsive behavior of the polymer regulated the accessibility of the sequence-specific hybridization between complementary DNA-functionalized Au NPs. At T < TC, the polymer was hydrophilic and extended, blocking interaction between the complementary sequences at the periphery of the hydrodynamic diameter. In contrast, at T > TC, the polymer shell undergoes a hydrophilic to -phobic phase transition and collapses, shrinking below the outer ssDNA, allowing for the sequence-specific hybridization to occur. The potential application of this dynamic interface for drug delivery is shown, in which the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin (DOX) is bound to double-stranded DNA (dsDNA)-functionalized Au NPs whose sequences are known to be high-affinity intercalation points for it. The presence of the polymer capping is shown to decrease drug release kinetics and equilibrium at T < TC, but increase release at T > TC, thus improving the cytotoxicity of the encoded nanocarrier design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7011-7020
Number of pages10
JournalACS nano
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 27 2013


  • DNA
  • copolymer
  • dynamic
  • nanoparticle
  • responsive
  • self-assembly
  • smart

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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