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Nanoscale structure of protamine/DNA complexes for gene delivery
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Understanding the internal packing of gene carriers is a key-factor to realize both gene protection during transport and de-complexation at the delivery site. Here, we investigate the structure of complexes formed by DNA fragments and protamine, applied in gene delivery. We found that complexes are charge- and size-tunable aggregates, depending on the protamine/DNA ratio, hundred nanometers in size. Their compactness and fractal structure depend on the length of the DNA fragments. Accordingly, on the local scale, the sites of protamine/DNA complexation assume different morphologies, seemingly displaying clumping ability for the DNA network only for shorter DNA fragments.
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