Systematic coarse-grained modeling of complexation between small interfering RNA and polycations

Zonghui Wei, Erik Luijten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


All-atom molecular dynamics simulations can provide insight into the properties of polymeric gene-delivery carriers by elucidating their interactions and detailed binding patterns with nucleic acids. However, to explore nanoparticle formation through complexation of these polymers and nucleic acids and study their behavior at experimentally relevant time and length scales, a reliable coarse-grained model is needed. Here, we systematically develop such a model for the complexation of small interfering RNA (siRNA) and grafted polyethyleneimine copolymers, a promising candidate for siRNA delivery. We compare the predictions of this model with all-atom simulations and demonstrate that it is capable of reproducing detailed binding patterns, charge characteristics, and water release kinetics. Since the coarse-grained model accelerates the simulations by one to two orders of magnitude, it will make it possible to quantitatively investigate nanoparticle formation involving multiple siRNA molecules and cationic copolymers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number243146
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 28 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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