Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors




Complexes of zwitterionic lipids such as phosphatidyl choline and DNA are a growing field of interest due to their potential to act as nonviral vectors for gene therapy. However, fundamental molecular interactions between these lipids and DNA are poorly understood. In this study, a few methods were employed to understand the difference in stability between DNA in bulk solution versus DNA anchored to a liposome surface. Förster resonance energy transfer was employed to capture real-time hybridization events of fifteen-mer DNA anchored to a phosphatidylcholine liposome surface. Circular dichroism was used to compare the effects of liposome interaction on DNA stability. In the presence of liposome, DNA showed a marked increase in DNA melting temperature as well as a structural shift from native B-form to a proposed B-Z intermediate form of DNA. In future works, single molecule experiments will be performed to better understand what interactions are dominating in the DNA-lipid system as indicated by quantitative data.