Efficient DNA Condensation Induced by Chiral β-Amino Acid-Based Cationic Surfactants

Bernat Pi Boleda, Sravani Ramisetty, Ona Illa Soler, Vicenç Branchadell Gallo, Rita S. Dias, Rosa Maria Ortuño Mingarro

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Four cationic chiral amino acid-based surfactants, cis- and trans-1 and cis- and trans-2, have been studied as DNA-condensing agents with enhanced properties and the absence of cell toxicity. The polar head of the surfactant is made of a cyclobutane β-amino acid in which the amino group is a hydrochloride salt and the carboxyl group is involved in an amide bond, allowing the link with hydrophobic C12 (surfactant 1) or C16 (surfactant 2) chains. The ability of these surfactants to condense DNA was investigated using a dye exclusion assay, gel electrophoresis, and circular dichroism and compared with the well-studied dodecyltrimethylammonium bromide (DTAB) and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB). The surfactant with the longest chain length and the trans stereochemistry (trans-2) was found to be the most efficient in condensing the DNA, including CTAB. Surfactant cis-2 was found to be less efficient, probably due to its poorer solubility. The β-amino acid surfactants with the shorter chain length behaved similarly, such that the cis/trans stereochemistry does not seem to play a role in this case. Interestingly, these were also found to induce DNA condensation for the same concentration as trans-2 and CTAB but showed a lower binding cooperativity. Therefore, a longer alkyl chain only slightly improved the effectiveness of these surfactants. Further, atomic force microscopy revealed that they compact DNA into small complexes of about 55–110 nm in diameter
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7034-7043
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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