Design and development of nanosized DNA assemblies in polypod-like structures as efficient vehicles for immunostimulatory CpG motifs to immune cells

ACS Nano. 2012 Jul 24;6(7):5931-40. doi: 10.1021/nn300727j. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


The immunostimulatory activity of phosphodiester DNA containing unmethylated cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) dinucleotides, or CpG motifs, was significantly increased by the formation of Y-, X-, or dendrimer-like multibranched shape. These results suggest the possibility that the activity of CpG DNA is a function of the structural properties of branched DNA assemblies. To elucidate the relationship between them, we have designed and developed nanosized DNA assemblies in polypod-like structures (polypod-like structured DNA, or polypodna for short) using oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) containing CpG motifs and investigated their structural and immunological properties. Those assemblies consisting of three (tripodna) to eight (octapodna) ODNs were successfully obtained, but one consisting of 12 ODNs was not when 36-mer ODNs were annealed under physiological sodium chloride concentration. High-speed atomic force microscopy revealed that these assemblies were in polypod-like structures. The apparent size of the products was about 10 nm in diameter, and there was an increasing trend with an increase in ODN length or with the pod number. Circular dichroism spectral data showed that DNA in polypodna preparations were in the B-form. The melting temperature of polypodna decreased with increasing pod number. Each polypodna induced the secretion of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 from macrophage-like RAW264.7 cells, with the greatest induction by those with hexa- and octapodna. Increasing the pod number increased the uptake by RAW264.7 cells but reduced the stability in serum. These results indicate that CpG DNA-containing polypodna preparations with six or more pods are a promising nanosized device with biodegradability and high immunostimulatory activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • CpG Islands / immunology*
  • DNA / administration & dosage*
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Immunization / methods
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nanostructures / administration & dosage*
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure
  • Nanotechnology
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Particle Size


  • DNA