Nano-Sized Sunflower Polycations As Effective Gene Transfer Vehicles

Yilong Cheng, Hua Wei, James Kevin Y. Tan, David J. Peeler, Don O. Maris, Drew L. Sellers, Philip J. Horner, Suzie H. Pun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The architecture of polycations plays an important role in both gene transfection efficiency and cytotoxicity. In this work, a new polymer, sunflower poly(2-dimethyl amino)ethyl methacrylate) (pDMAEMA), is prepared by atom transfer radical polymerization and employed as nucleic acid carriers compared to linear pDMAEMA homopolymer and comb pDMAEMA. The sunflower pDMAEMAs show higher IC50, greater buffering capacity, and stronger binding capacity toward plasmid DNA than their linear and comb counterparts. In vitro transfection studies demonstrate that sunflower pDMAEMAs exhibit high transfection efficiency as well as relatively low cytotoxicity in complete growth medium. In vivo gene delivery by intraventricular injection to the brain shows that sunflower polymer delivers plasmid DNA more effectively than comb polymer. This study provides a new insight into the relationship between polymeric architecture and gene delivery capability, and as well as a useful means to design potent vectors for successful gene delivery. A new polymer, termed "sunflower polymer," is reported and employed as nucleic acid carrier in vitro and in vivo. The sunflower polymers exhibit high transfection efficiency as well as relative low cytotoxicity in serum-containing medium in comparison to their linear and comb counterparts, and efficiently deliver nucleic acid cargoes into mice brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2750-2758
Number of pages9
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 25 2016


  • nucleic acid delivery
  • polycations
  • polymeric architectures
  • sunflower polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biomaterials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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