Loading of single-walled carbon nanotubes in cationic cholesterol suspensions significantly improves gene transfection efficiency in serum†
We present here a series of cholesterol based cationic lipid suspensions that solubilize single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) efficiently in water. Each cationic lipid formulation was characterized in terms of their energy minimized molecular structures, bilayer widths of the aggregates based on X-ray diffraction. Then these aggregates were investigated pertaining to their DNA binding and release efficiency, effect of CNT inclusion on the stability of cationic cholesterol lipid-DNA complexes, Zeta potential values and changes in the chiro-optical property of DNA, effect on Raman spectral shift and changes in morphology by SEM and AFM. Each cationic lipid formulation was optimized for the amount of SWCNT solubilized in water, lipid-DNA ratio, amount of the plasmid DNA that can be transfected and the effect on the cellular toxicity. The resulting SWCNT-lipid formulations were then used for in vitro transfection of pEGFP-C3 in A549 (human alveolar basal epithelial) cells and HeLa (human cervical cancer) cells. Advantageously, the CNT-loaded formulations confer an excellent transfection efficiency even in high percentages of blood serum and showed significantly better gene transfer efficiency compared to one of the potent, well-known commercial transfection reagent, Lipofectamine2000.