Research Article


2016, 9(2): 291–305


Size-dependent gene delivery of amine-modified silica nanoparticles

Meihua Yu1,§, Yuting Niu1,§, Jun Zhang1, Hongwei Zhang1, Yannan Yang1, Elena Taran1,2, Siddharth Jambhrunkar1, Wenyi Gu1, Peter Thorn3, and Chengzhong Yu1 (*)

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1 Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia
2 Australian National Fabrication Facility-QLD Node, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia
3 School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072, Australia
§ These authors contributed equally to this work.

Keywords: silica nanoparticles, gene delivery, plasmid DNA, particle sizes, cellular uptake
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ABSTRACT Silica-based nanoparticles are promising carriers for gene delivery applications. To gain insights into the effect of particle size on gene transfection efficiency, amine-modified monodisperse Stöber spheres (NH2-SS) with diameters of 125, 230, 330, 440, and 570 nm were synthesized. The in vitro transfection efficiencies of NH2-SS for delivering plasmid DNA encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) (pcDNA3-EGFP, abbreviated as pcDNA, 6.1 kbp) were studied in HEK293T cells. NH2-SS with a diameter of 330 nm (NH2-SS330) showed the highest GFP transfection level compared to NH2-SS particles with other sizes. The transfection efficiency was found as a compromise between the binding capacity and cellular uptake performance of NH2-SS330 and pcDNA conjugates. NH2-SS330 also demonstrated the highest transfection efficiency for plasmid DNA (pDNA) with a bigger size of 8.9 kbp. To our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate the significance of particle size for gene transfection efficiency in silica-based gene delivery systems. Our findings are crucial to the rational design of synthetic vectors for gene therapy.
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Size-dependent gene delivery of amine-modified silica nanoparticles. Nano Res. 2016, 9(2): 291–305

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