José’s comment on: Intelligent, Biodegradable, and Self-Healing Hydrogels Utilizing DNA Quadruplexes

By José M. Martinez

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This paper is about making of a water based gel made from the supramolecular interactions of guanosine rich oligonucleotides. They attached these oligonucleotides symmetrically into the ends of PEG chains of variable lengths and conformations. This was made through High Efficiency Liquid Phase (HELP) synthesis. This synthetic strategy, as its name says, occurs in a liquid phase instead of the usual solid phase synthesis. The purpose of this is to allow them to obtain greater quantities of product more easily without risking the effectiveness. These DNA-PEG-DNA monomers have the ability, when diluted and presented with a cation (K+ or Na+), to self-assemble its DNA moieties through non-covalent interactions to for G-quadruplexes. Those strong interactions change the physical properties of the solution by forming a hydrogel. In the study, it was proven that the concentration of the cation required to trigger the self-assembly is relatively small. It is even compared to the concentration of salts found in body-related fluids like sweat, saliva, and tears. The hydrogel also has the capability to heal itself and interact by diffusion with another of the same kind. Finally, it was found that by adding a few extra nucleotides to the DNA moiety of the monomer and a matching strand for that part, the G-quadruplexes could be disassembled, returning the gel back to its liquid phase. All the previously stated properties indicate potential uses of this hydrogel for biomedical purposes.
Regarding myself, I learned mostly about the molecular aspect of gels and how they are formed. It was very interesting seeing the role that the supramolecular interactions played in the formation of this particular gel and the experiments made to investigate further into its properties.

JMM: Tanaka, 2017. Intelligent, Biodegradable, and Self-Healing Hydrogels Utilizing DNA Quadruplexes

7 thoughts on “José’s comment on: Intelligent, Biodegradable, and Self-Healing Hydrogels Utilizing DNA Quadruplexes

  1. Rating (synopsis): 5/5
    Rating (figure): 4/5

    This paper is probably, conceptually, the simplest one we’ve discussed this semester. The synopsis conveys the simplicity of it. The post is well written in terms of both vocabulary and grammar. I particularly appreciated the link to the HELP synthetic method, since it is what I found most educational in it. Personally, although this isn’t related to the synopsis, I didn’t feel I learned much from the paper. The paper has cool images, with smiley faces or color combinations, but I didn’t take home any new ideas or understanding.
    Jose’s figure is simple (as everything in this paper) yet illustrative.

  2. Rating (synopsis): 4/5
    Rating (figure): 4/5

    Jose’s comment touched a lot of aspects of the article but it does not mention the experiments done, even though he mentions they are very interesting. While he mentions the importance of the HELP synthesis, I don’t understand what he meant by writing “The purpose of this is to allow them to obtain greater quantities of product more easily without risking the effectiveness.” What effectiveness are they risking? I think he meant you can have a higher yield of the product without a change in the intrinsic properties.

    Regarding the image, I would add a Kekulé structure of a G-quadruplex since their assembly is important in the gel formation, but I know I’m bias towards these representations.

  3. Rating (synopsis): 4/5
    Rating ( figure): 3/5

    Jose’s summary was quite clear. I could understand everything he explained. He did it directly and with simple concepts. However, he did not talk about the experimental part of the article.

    The image is a bit confusing. As a recommendation I would have labeled the figures with what was happening in each step so that there would be a sequence.

  4. Rating (synopsis): 4/5
    Rating (figure): 4/5

    The synopsis was easy to understand and went through every important part of the article’s idea. I liked how Jose explained everything using simple syntax to deliver the message to us, but for the future proofread the paragraph before submitting because there are some minor mistakes in writing correctly some words.

    I understood everything about the figure and I liked how it goes step by step showing the synthesis of the gel.

  5. Rating (synopsis): 4/5
    Rating (figure): 4/5

    As his comment goes, I think it took the main idea and expressed it in a very simple way, which is always great for reaching audiences, leaving them wanting more. In my case I would have loved more information about the self-healing process and what where those “a few extra nucleotides to the DNA moiety”. Yet it is not necessary for the comment itself, just the curiosity of the reader.

    As his picture, kind of hate the HELP on the arrow, yet it’s a great TOC figure.

  6. Rating (synopsis): 5/5
    Rating (figure): 5/5

    José did an excellent job at summarizing the whole paper in a short synopsis. Since his paper was about hydrogels, similar to the paper I was assigned this past trimester, I thought it was helpful to mention the potential uses to these systems. We learned with the research how tuning the properties of hydrogels is important for biomedical applications. Also, I enjoyed when he highlighted that the self-assembly requires relatively small amount of salts, similar to the concentration of salts found in body-related fluids like sweat, saliva, and tears. By mentioning that, we see the importance of potential uses of the hydrogels. The figure is really great since he presents in a simple way the synthesis of the monomers and then the self-assembly in the presence of cations forming the gel.

  7. Rating (Synopsis): 4/5
    Rating (Figure): 5/5

    I found Jose’s article very interesting and liked that it was closely related to what we do in the lab, at least conceptually. I enjoyed how Jose’s synopsis focused on summarizing what the article’s about, but I also wish that he had expanded on the part about the self-healing properties of the gel. For a future synopsis of another paper, I think he should consider including more experimental data to explain the results in a more tangible way. Overall a good synopsis with minor grammatical errors.

    Jose’s figure looks worthy of being included in this article as a TOC figure because it summarizes the main points of their work very well.

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