Theranostics 2019; 9(11):3213-3222. doi:10.7150/thno.31854 This issue


Supramolecular Assemblies of Peptides or Nucleopeptides for Gene Delivery

Huaimin Wang, Zhaoqianqi Feng, Bing Xu

Department of Chemistry, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02453, USA.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Wang H, Feng Z, Xu B. Supramolecular Assemblies of Peptides or Nucleopeptides for Gene Delivery. Theranostics 2019; 9(11):3213-3222. doi:10.7150/thno.31854. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Using non-covalent interactions between nucleic acids (DNA, siRNA, miRNA, and mRNA) with peptides or nucleopeptides is a promising strategy to construct supramolecular assemblies for gene delivery and therapy. Comparing to conventional strategies for gene delivery, the assemblies of peptides or nucleopeptides provide several unique advantages: i) reversible interactions between the assemblies and the nucleic acids; ii) minimal immunogenicity; iii) biocompatibility. This field has advanced considerably in recent years so that it is worth summarizing the recent progresses and future challenges. In this review, we introduce the development of assemblies of peptides or nucleopeptides for applications in gene delivery and related fields. After introducing the promises of gene therapy and the current strategies for the delivery, we discuss the unique advantage of using peptide assemblies for gene delivery. Then we describe several representative strategies for gene delivery by the assemblies of peptides or nucleopeptides. Finally, we discuss the key factors for designing such assemblies for gene delivery, and speculate future directions and challenges in the field, particularly the rational design and the spatiotemporally controlled release in live cells.

Keywords: Self-assembly, Nanostructures, Gene delivery, Peptide, Nucleopeptide, Enzyme, Non-viral vector