Interaction of DNA and RNA Molecules with Nanoclays that Have Potential for Use in Gene Therapy
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In recent years, research has been carried out in the field of drug/biomolecule delivery for optimizing the carrier. Nanoclays such as halloysite (HNT) and montmorillonite (MMT) can be used as protective carriers for drug/biomolecule delivery. Halloysites are naturally occurring aluminosilicate clay nanotubes. Montmorillonite (MMT) forms sheet-like structures with large surface areas. Both the clays have been utilized successfully as vehicles for delivery of drugs into cells. In the current study, we have investigated the association of RNAs and DNAs having different structures and lengths with HNT and MMT using physical and molecular biology methods. The strength of MMT-ssRNA interactions was also examined using inorganic anion competition and displacement assays. In this study, we have demonstrated that small single-stranded and double-stranded DNAs and RNAs have little affinity for the nanoclay HNT. However, addition of Na+ and Mg2+ cations increased binding of the nucleic acids to HNT. The nature of DNA bound to HNT and the ability of HNT to protect DNA from nuclease DNase I was also investigated. The strength of the interaction between small RNAs and Ca-MMT was also assessed using anion competition and displacement experiments as well as electrophoretic mobility shift assays. The anion competition and displacement experimental data suggested that binding of RNAs to the clay was strong and was not disrupted significantly by the inorganic counterions.