Self-Assembled Multivalent (SAMul) Polyanion Binding – Impact of Hydrophobic Modifications in the Micellar Core on DNA and Heparin Binding at the Peripheral Cationic Ligands

Buthaina Abdulmohsen M Albanyan, Erik Laurini, Paola Posocco, Sabrina Pricl, David Kelham Smith

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This paper reports a small family of cationic surfactants designed to bind polyanions such as DNA and heparin. Each molecule has the same hydrophilic cationic ligand, and a hydrophobic aliphatic group with eighteen carbon atoms with either one, two or three alkene groups within the hydrophobic chain (C18-1, C18-2 and C18-3). Dynamic light scattering indicates that more alkenes lead to geometric distortion, giving rise to larger self-assembled multivalent (SAMul) nanostructures. Mallard Blue and Ethidium Bromide dye displacement assays demonstrate that heparin and DNA have markedly different binding preferences, with heparin binding most effectively to C18-1, and DNA to C18-3, even though the molecular structural differences of these SAMul systems are buried in the hydrophobic core. Multiscale modelling suggests that adaptive heparin maximises enthalpically-favourable interactions with C18-1, while shape-persistent DNA forms a similar number of interactions with each ligand display, but with slightly less entropic cost for binding to C18-3 – fundamental thermodynamic differences in SAMul binding of heparin or DNA. This study therefore provides unique insight into electrostatic molecular recognition between highly charged nanoscale surfaces in biologically-relevant systems.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry : A European Journal
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017

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