A new family of peptide-nucleic acid nanostructures with potent transfection activities

J Pept Sci. 2011 Feb;17(2):88-93. doi: 10.1002/psc.1318. Epub 2010 Nov 23.


A family of His-rich peptides has been shown to complex DNA and efficiently deliver these nucleic acids into eukaryotic cells. Therefore, these nanoscale complexes have potential applications in gene therapy. Here, we review a number of spectroscopic and biophysical investigations aimed at characterizing the supramolecular interactions of the peptides with the nucleic acids and when overcoming the membrane barriers of the cell. Furthermore, solid-state NMR distance measurements for the first time reveal close interatomic distances between the amino acid side chains and the DNA phosphates within the transfection complex. A recent study indicates that the peptides are also potent transfectants of siRNAs and they could thereby be of potential interest for gene silencing therapies using these compounds. Copyright © 2010 European Peptide Society and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calorimetry
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Peptide Nucleic Acids / chemistry*
  • Transfection / methods*


  • Peptide Nucleic Acids