Dendritic silica nanomaterials (KCC-1) with fibrous pore structure possess high DNA adsorption capacity and effectively deliver genes in vitro

Xiaoxi Huang, Zhimin Tao, John C. Praskavich, Anandarup Goswami, Jafar F. Al-Sharab, Tamara Minko, Vivek Polshettiwar, Tewodros Asefa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


The pore size and pore structure of nanoporous materials can affect the materials' physical properties, as well as potential applications in different areas, including catalysis, drug delivery, and biomolecular therapeutics. KCC-1, one of the newest members of silica nanomaterials, possesses fibrous, large pore, dendritic pore networks with wide pore entrances, large pore size distribution, spacious pore volume and large surface area-structural features that are conducive for adsorption and release of large guest molecules and biomacromolecules (e.g., proteins and DNAs). Here, we report the results of our comparative studies of adsorption of salmon DNA in a series of KCC-1-based nanomaterials that are functionalized with different organoamine groups on different parts of their surfaces (channel walls, external surfaces or both). For comparison the results of our studies of adsorption of salmon DNA in similarly functionalized, MCM-41 mesoporous silica nanomaterials with cylindrical pores, some of the most studied silica nanomaterials for drug/gene delivery, are also included. Our results indicate that, despite their relatively lower specific surface area, the KCC-1-based nanomaterials show high adsorption capacity for DNA than the corresponding MCM-41-based nanomaterials, most likely because of KCC-1's large pores, wide pore mouths, fibrous pore network, and thereby more accessible and amenable structure for DNA molecules to diffuse through. Conversely, the MCM-41-based nanomaterials adsorb much less DNA, presumably because their outer surfaces/cylindrical channel pore entrances can get blocked by the DNA molecules, making the inner parts of the materials inaccessible. Moreover, experiments involving fluorescent dye-tagged DNAs suggest that the amine-grafted KCC-1 materials are better suited for delivering the DNAs adsorbed on their surfaces into cellular environments than their MCM-41 counterparts. Finally, cellular toxicity tests show that the KCC-1-based materials are biocompatible. On the basis of these results, the fibrous and porous KCC-1-based nanomaterials can be said to be more suitable to carry, transport, and deliver DNAs and genes than cylindrical porous nanomaterials such as MCM-41.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10886-10898
Number of pages13
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - Sep 16 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry

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