Synthesis and characterization of novel water-soluble polyamide based on spermine and aspartic acid as a potential gene delivery vehicle

B. M. Viola, T. E. Abraham, D. S. Arathi, E. Sreekumar, M. R. Pillai, T. J. Thomas, C. K.S. Pillai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We developed a novel and convenient method for the synthesis of a potentially safe non-viral gene delivery vehicle based on the cationic block copolymer of spermine and aspartic acid (ASSP) and coupled it with polyethylene glycol (PEG). The copolymer ASSP was prepared by direct polycondensation in the ionic liquid, butylmethylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate, using triphenyl phosphite as the condensing agent under mild reaction conditions. The highly hydrophobic ASSP was transformed into a water soluble hydrophilic micelle by coupling ASSP with polyethylene glycol (PEG) using the same ionic liquid and 1,1-carbonyl diimidazole as the condensing agent without harsh conditions. The polycationic ASSP-PEG was then used to condense calf thymus and plasmid deoxyribonuclceic acids (DNAs) in Tris-HCl buffer (pH 7.4) to get a series of block ionomer complexes with various charge ratios. The physicochemical properties of the copolymer micelle and the DNA polyplexes were studied using fourier transform-infrared (FTIR), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and particle size measurements. It was observed that the DNA was condensed to compact particles by its interaction with the copolymer. Since DNA condensation to nano/micrometer sized particles is essential for gene delivery, our results indicate a potential use of the copolymer for gene delivery applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-338
Number of pages9
JournalExpress Polymer Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


  • DNA polyplexes
  • Gene delivery vector
  • Nanomaterials
  • Synthesis
  • Water-soluble polyamide


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