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Atomistic molecular dynamics simulations have been carried out to reveal the characteristic features of ethylenediamine (EDA) cored protonated (corresponding to neutral pH) poly amido amine (PAMAM) dendrimers of generation 3 (G3) and 4 (G4) that are functionalized with single strand DNAs (ssDNAs). The four ssDNA strands that are attached via an alkythiolate [–S(CH2)6–] linker molecule to the free aminegroups on the surface of the PAMAM dendrimers are observed to undergo a rapid conformational change during the 25 ns long simulation period. From the RMSD values of ssDNAs, we find relative stability in the case of purine rich (having more adenine and guanine) ssDNA strands than pyrimidine rich (thymine and cytosine) ssDNA strands. The degree of wrapping of ssDNA strands on the dendrimer molecule was found to be influenced by the charge ratio of DNA and the dendrimer. As the G4 dendrimer contains relatively more positive charge than G3 dendrimer, we observe extensive wrapping of ssDNAs on the G4 dendrimer than G3 dendrimer. This might indicate that DNA functionalized G3 dendrimer is more suitable to construct higher order nanostructures. The linker molecule was also found to undergo drastic conformational change during the simulation. During nanosecond long simulation some portion of the linker molecule was found to be lying nearly flat on the surface of the dendrimer molecule. The ssDNA strands along with the linkers are seen to penetrate the surface of the dendrimer molecule and approach closer to the center of the dendrimer indicating the soft sphere nature of the dendrimer molecule. The effective radius of DNA-functionalized dendrimernanoparticles was found to be independent of base composition of ssDNAs and was observed to be around 19.5 Å and 22.4 Å when we used G3 and G4 PAMAM dendrimers as the core of the nanoparticle respectively. The observed effective radius of DNA-functionalized dendrimer molecules apparently indicates the significant shrinkage in the structure that has taken place in dendrimer, linker and DNA strands. As a whole our results describe the characteristic features of DNA-functionalized dendrimernanoparticles and can be used as strong inputs to design effectively the DNA–dendrimernanoparticleself-assembly for their active biological applications.
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