The use of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) for biomedical applications is a promising approach due to their unique outer optical stimuli response properties, such as a photothermal response triggered by near-IR laser irradiation. The challenging task in order to realize such applications is to render the SWNTs biocompatible. For this purpose, the stable and homogeneous functionalization of the SWNTs with a molecule carrying a biocompatible group is very important. Here, we describe the design and synthesis of a polyanionic SWNT/DNA hybrid combined with a cationic poly(l-lysine) grafted by polyethylene glycol (PLL-g-PEG) to provide a supramolecular SWNT assembly. A titration experiment revealed that the assembly undergoes an approximately 1:1 reaction of the SWNT/DNA with PLL-g-PEG. We also found that SWNT/DNA is coated with PLL-g-PEG very homogeneously that avoids the non-specific binding of proteins on the SWNT surface. The experiment using the obtained supramolecular hybrid was carried out in vitro and a dramatic enhancement in the cell uptake efficiency compared to that of the SWNT/DNA hybrid without PLL-g-PEG was found.
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