Formation and characterization of DNA coacervates in gelatindextran aqueous mixtures


Tur Guasch, Rafael


Polysaccharides, proteins, and nucleic acids are the main biopolymers found in living organisms. Its hierarchical self-assembly promotes the formation of compartments, which are not encompassed by a lipid membrane. This type of structures is called membraneless organelles (MLOs) and carry out a wide range of functions. However, many aspects regarding their formation, aging, and influence on cellular processes are still not fully understood. In this work, model MLOs have been prepared and characterized in the system composed of fish gelatin, dextran, ssDNA and water. The phase behavior of gelatin and dextran aqueous mixtures have been studied, with the formation of water-in-water emulsions caused by the repulsion between gelatin and dextran.
The addition of ssDNA to that mixtures can allow the formation of gelatin-DNA coacervates that are dispersed in a dextran solution. The morphology of the coacervates is dependent on gelatin and dextran concentrations. The rheological study of this system has shown that gelatin and DNA in aqueous mixtures exhibit a strong attraction to each other, forming a hydrogel. Coacervate microparticles (microcoacervates) of few micrometers in size can be formed and may present many potential applications, in addition to be a model system of MLOs.



Faijes Simona, Magda
Esquena, Jordi


IQS SE - Undergraduate Program in Biotechnology