DNA hybridization as a general method to enhance the cellular uptake of nanostructures†
The biomedical application of nanoparticles (NPs) for diagnosis and therapy is considerably stalled by their inefficient cellular internalization. Many strategies to overcome this obstacle have been developed but are not generally applicable to different NP systems, consequently underlining the need for a universal method that enhances NP entry into cells. Here we describe a method to increase NP cellular uptake via strand hybridization between DNA-functionalized NPs and cells that bear the respective complementary sequence incorporated into the membrane. By this, the NPs bind efficiently to the cellular surface enhancing internalization of three completely different NP types: DNA tetrahedrons, gold (Au) NPs, and polystyrene (PS) NPs. We show that our approach is a simple and generalizable strategy that can be applied to virtually every functionalizable NP system.