Cargo-Dependent Targeted Cellular Uptake Using Quaternized Starch as a Carrier

Yossi Blitsman, Chen Benafsha, Nir Yarza, Jonathan Zorea, Riki Goldbart, Tamar Traitel, Moshe Elkabets, Joseph Kost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tailored design of drug delivery systems for specific therapeutic agents is a prevailing approach in the field. In this paper, we present a study that highlights the potential of our modified starch, Q-starch, as a universal and adaptable drug delivery carrier for diverse therapeutic agents. We investigate the ability of Q-starch/cargo complexes to target different organelles within the cellular landscape, based on the specific activation sites of therapeutic agents. Plasmid DNA (pDNA), small interfering RNA (siRNA), and phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3) were chosen as representative therapeutic molecules, acting in the nucleus, cytoplasm, and membrane, respectively. By carrying out comprehensive characterizations, employing dynamic light scattering (DLS), determining the zeta potential, and using cryo-transmitting electron microscopy (cryo-TEM), we reveal the formation of nano-sized, positively charged, and spherical Q-starch complexes. Our results demonstrate that these complexes exhibit efficient cellular uptake, targeting their intended organelles while preserving their physical integrity and functionality. Notably, the intracellular path of the Q-starch/cargo complex is guided by the cargo itself, aligning with its unique biological activity site. This study elucidates the versatility and potency of Q-starch as a versatile drug delivery carrier, paving the way for novel applications offering targeted delivery strategies for potential therapeutic molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1988
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • cellular uptake
  • phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate
  • plasmid DNA
  • quaternized starch
  • self-assembly complexes
  • small interfering RNA
  • targeted drug delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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