Investigation of the Impact of Hydrogen Bonding Degree in Long Single-Stranded DNA (ssDNA) Generated with Dual Rolling Circle Amplification (RCA) on the Preparation and Performance of DNA Hydrogels Wang, Xinyu; Wang, Huiyuan; Zhang, Hongmin; Yang, Tianxi; Zhao, Bin; Yan, Juan
DNA hydrogels have gained significant attention in recent years as one of the most promising functional polymer materials. To broaden their applications, it is critical to develop efficient methods for the preparation of bulk-scale DNA hydrogels with adjustable mechanical properties. Herein, we introduce a straightforward and efficient molecular design approach to producing physically pure DNA hydrogel and controlling its mechanical properties by adjusting the degree of hydrogen bonding in ultralong single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) precursors, which were generated using a dual rolling circle amplification (RCA)-based strategy. The effect of hydrogen bonding degree on the performance of DNA hydrogels was thoroughly investigated by analyzing the preparation process, morphology, rheology, microstructure, and entrapment efficiency of the hydrogels for Au nanoparticles (AuNPs)–BSA. Our results demonstrate that DNA hydrogels can be formed at 25 °C with simple vortex mixing in less than 10 s. The experimental results also indicate that a higher degree of hydrogen bonding in the precursor DNA resulted in stronger internal interaction forces, a more complex internal network of the hydrogel, a denser hydrogel, improved mechanical properties, and enhanced entrapment efficiency. This study intuitively demonstrates the effect of hydrogen bonding on the preparation and properties of DNA hydrogels. The method and results presented in this study are of great significance for improving the synthesis efficiency and economy of DNA hydrogels, enhancing and adjusting the overall quality and performance of the hydrogel, and expanding the application field of DNA hydrogels.
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