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Lipid-Oligonucleotides (LONs) --- Promising materials for bioapplications

Science China Press

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IMAGE: Schematic illustrations of some bioanalytical applications of LONs. (A) A reversible cell membrane-anchored K+ probe. Copyright (2016) Royal Society of Chemistry. (B) (C) Cell membrane-immobilized DNA tweezers for monitoring extracellular... view more 

Credit: Copyright (2017) Royal Society of Chemistry

Lipids are very essential components in composing living systems and are important for cell signaling and nutrient transport. Meanwhile, lipids have been widely used as carriers in many anticancer drugs development because of their capability in increasing solubilization and improving pharmacokinetics of drugs. Based on this, lipid-oligonucleotides (LONs), the new molecular materials have been designed and have shown outstanding properties in different molecular designs for applications from bioanalysis and biosensing to biomedical technologies.

Due to the information-transfer and self-assembly abilities of the two segments, LONs have presented advantages in designing membrane-anchored biosensors and synthetic membrane channels. For example, LONs have been used in the researches of cell membrane anchored sensors for monitoring extracellular molecules and measuring biophysical events on the live cell surface, because of the similarity between the lipid part of LONs and lipid bilayers in cell membrane. Moreover, LONs have great potential in making contributions to developing new therapies and controllable nanoreactors by designing different structures with tunable compositions of two moieties.

Recently, Professor Weihong Tan lead a group of researchers, including Dr. Xiaowei Li, et al. from University of Florida and Dr. Kejun Feng from Huizhou University reported a systematic review discussing this powerful molecular engineering material, LON, and its wide applications from biosensors to biomedicine.

They first summarized the current general synthesis strategies of preparing LONs (pre- and post-synthetic approaches), describing their basic structures and some related characterization analysis of properties, suggesting that LONs have unique recognition ability and excellent stability, which are the prerequisites for biomedical and analytical applications. The special amphiphilic structures of LONs also provide themselves enhancing drug encapsulation and targeted recognition abilities, benefiting the downstream applications.

Then, the researchers discussed the recent advances in applying LONs in various areas. LONs could be modified to build cell membrane anchored biosensors, targeted cancer therapeutics or imaging probes, as well as programmable nanoreactors, indicating that LONs are super versatile materials and could favor different purposes. At the same time, the current challenges and future directions of improving LONs were also mentioned in the review, which may help guide the better developments of LONs-based materials for more biological applications.

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See the article: Lipid-oligonucleotide conjugates for bioapplications
Natl Sci Rev, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1093/nsr/nwaa161

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