Light-Responsive and pH-Responsive DNA Microcapsules for Controlled Release of Loads

Fujian Huang, Wei Ching Liao, Yang Sung Sohn, Rachel Nechushtai, Chun Hua Lu, Itamar Willner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Scopus citations


A method to assemble light-responsive or pH-responsive microcapsules loaded with different loads (tetramethylrhodamine-modified dextran, TMR-D; microperoxidase-11, MP-11; CdSe/ZnS quantum dots; or doxorubicin-modified dextran, DOX-D) is described. The method is based on the layer-by-layer deposition of sequence-specific nucleic acids on poly(allylamine hydrochloride)-functionalized CaCO3 core microparticles, loaded with the different loads, that after the dissolution of the core particles with EDTA yields the stimuli-responsive microcapsules that include the respective loads. The light-responsive microcapsules are composed of photocleavable o-nitrobenzyl-phosphate-modified DNA shells, and the pH-responsive microcapsules are made of a cytosine-rich layer cross-linked by nucleic acid bridges. Irradiating the o-nitrobenzyl phosphate-functionalized microcapsules, λ = 365 nm, or subjecting the pH-responsive microcapsules to pH = 5.0, results in the cleavage of the microcapsule shells and the release of the loads. Preliminary studies address the cytotoxicity of the DOX-D-loaded microcapsules toward MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and normal MCF-10A breast epithelial cells. Selective cytotoxicity of the DOX-D-loaded microcapsules toward cancer cells is demonstrated.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)8936-8945
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number28
StatePublished - 20 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


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