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Structural aspects of histone H1-DNA complexes and their relation to transfection efficiency

: Haberland, A.; Cartier, R.; Heuer, D.; Zaitsev, S.; Paulke, B.-R.; Schäfer-Korting, M.; Böttger, M.


Biotechnology and applied biochemistry 42 (2005), Nr.2, S.107-117
ISSN: 0885-4513
Fraunhofer IAP ()

During transfection, polycation-DNA complexes are normally diluted by the transfection medium, which often contains salt in the physiological concentration range and serum. It is not exactly known to what extent this dilution step influences the properties of the complexes, which in turn influence the transfection efficiency. In order to gain more insight into the size-structure-transfection activity relationship, we prepared histone HI-DNA complexes in NaCl solutions at various concentrations known to determine the size and structure of the resulting complexes. We characterized the complexes by physicochemical methods. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy enabled relative measurements of complex sizes even under physiological conditions. The different appearances of the complexes were correlated with their transfection efficiency. When transfection was performed by dilution of the complexes in cell-cultivation media, the initial structure of HI-DNA complexes preformed under distinct salt conditions had no significant influence on the transfection efficiency. The dilution of the preformed complexes with cell-cultivation medium resulted in re-formation and aggregation of the complexes. The addition of the complexes to the cells without cell-cultivation medium, however, showed a direct correlation between the size of the complexes and the transfection efficiency (corrrelation coefficient 0.91). Small complexes did not contribute to the transfection.