New Biocompatible Nanohydrogels of Predefined Sizes for Complexing Nucleic Acids

Lakshmanan Eswaran, Gila Kazimirsky, Gerardo Byk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The advent of protein expression using m-RNA applied lately for treating the COVID pandemic, and gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9 technology for introducing DNA sequences at a specific site in the genome, are milestones for the urgent need of developing new nucleic acid delivery systems with improved delivery properties especially for in vivo applications. We have designed, synthesized, and characterized novel cross-linked monodispersed nanohydrogels (NHG’s) with well-defined sizes ranging between 50–400 nm. The synthesis exploits the formation of self-assemblies generated upon heating a thermo-responsive mixture of monomers. Self-assemblies are formed and polymerized at high temperatures resulting in NHGs with sizes that are predetermined by the sizes of the intermediate self-assemblies. The obtained NHGs were chemically reduced to lead particles with highly positive zeta potential and low cell toxicity. The NHGs form complexes with DNA, and at optimal charge ratio the size of the complexes is concomitant with the size of the NHG’s. Thus, the DNA is fully embedded inside the NHGs. The new NHGs and their DNA complexes are devoid of cell toxicity which together with their tunned sizes, make them potential tools for gene delivery and foreign protein expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number332
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • cationic nanohydrogels
  • non-viral gene delivery
  • polymerization
  • self-assembly

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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