Tracking nucleic acid nanocapsule assembly, cellular uptake and disassembly using a novel fluorescently labeled surfactant†
Intracellular trafficking and delivery of nucleic acids is an area of growing interest, particularly as it relates to therapeutic applications. Spectroscopic methods have been used to observe and quantitatively measure the delivery of oligonucleotides both in vitro and in vivo. Herein we demonstrate the use of a new fluorophore labeled surfactant presenting a solvatochromatic chromophore for tracking the assembly and degradation of a hybrid biomaterial we refer to as a nucleic acid nanocapsule (NAN). We show that the surfactant enables critical micelle concentration determination, monitoring of NAN disassembly in vitro, and the ability to track the cellular movement and activity of surfactant–oligonucleotide conjugates in cells when coupled with quantitative PCR analysis.