Amphiphilic DNA Block Copolymers: Nucleic Acid-Polymer Hybrid Materials for Diagnostics and Biomedicine

  • Jan Zimmermann
  • Minseok Kwak
  • Andrew J. Musser
  • Andreas HerrmannEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 751)


DNA-polymer conjugates have been recognized as versatile functional materials in many different fields ranging from nanotechnology to diagnostics and biomedicine. They combine the favorable properties of nucleic acids and synthetic polymers. Moreover, joining both structures with covalent bonds to form bioorganic hybrids allows for the tuning of specific properties or even the possibility of evolving completely new functions. One important class of this type of material is amphiphilic DNA block copolymers, which, due to microphase separation, can spontaneously adopt nanosized micelle morphologies with a hydrophobic core and a DNA corona. These DNA nano-objects have been explored as vehicles for targeted gene and drug delivery, and also as programmable nanoreactors for organic reactions. Key to the successful realization of these potential applications is that (1) DNA block copolymer conjugates can be fabricated in a fully automated fashion by employing a DNA synthesizer; (2) hydrophobic compounds can be loaded within their interior; and (3) they can be site-specifically functionalized by a convenient nucleic acid hybridization procedure. This chapter aims to broaden the range of biodiagnostic and biomedical applications of these materials by providing a comprehensive outline of the preparation and characterization of multifunctional DNA-polymer nanoparticles.

Key words

DNA Block copolymers Nanoparticles Oligonucleotides Drug delivery Anticancer drug Macromolecular amphiphiles Solid-phase synthesis 



This work was supported by the EU (ERC starting grant, ECCell), the Nuffic (Huygens scholarship program), the DFG, and the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Zimmermann
  • Minseok Kwak
  • Andrew J. Musser
  • Andreas Herrmann
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Polymer Chemistry, The Zernike Institute for Advanced MaterialsUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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