Polyethylenimine/Oligonucleotide Polyplexes Investigated by Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer and Fluorescence Anisotropy

Young T Ko, Ulrich Bickel, Juyang Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


To advance knowledge on polyplex structure and composition, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and anisotropy measurements were applied to polyplexes of rhodamine-labeled polyethylenimine (PEI) and fluorescein-labeled double-stranded oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN). About 25κDa PEI was compared with low-molecular-weight PEI of 2.7κDa. FRET reached maxima at amine to phosphate (N/P) ratios of 2 and 3 for 2.7κDa and 25κDa PEI, respectively, with similar average distances between donor and acceptor dye molecules in polyplexes. Anisotropy measurements allowed estimating the bound fractions of PEI and ODN. At N/P = 6, all ODN was bound, but only 58% of PEI 25κDa and 45% of PEI 2.7κDa. In conclusion, the higher molecular weight of PEI may conformationally restrict the availability of amino groups for charge interaction with phosphate groups in ODN. Moreover, significant fractions of both types of PEI remain free in solution at N/P ratios frequently used for transfection. FRET and anisotropy measurements provide effective tools for probing polyplex compositions and designing optimized delivery systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-114
StatePublished - Apr 2011


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