Biopolymeric materials used as nonviral vectors: a review

Jailson de Araújo Santos, Daniel Barbosa Liarte, Alessandra Braga Ribeiro, Marcia dos Santos Rizzo, Marcília Pinheiro da Costa, Josy A. Osajima, Edson C. Silva-Filho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review



Bacterial transformation and gene transfection can be understood as being the results of introducing specific genetic material into cells, resulting in gene expression, and adding a new genetic trait to the host cell. Many studies have been carried out to investigate different types of lipids and cationic polymers as promising nonviral vectors for DNA transfer. The present study aimed to carry out a systematic review on the use of biopolymeric materials as nonviral vectors. The methodology was carried out based on searches of scientific articles and applications for patents published or deposited from 2006 to 2020 in different databases for patents (EPO, USPTO, and INPI) and articles (Scopus, Web of Science, and Scielo). The results showed that there are some deposits of patents regarding the use of chitosan as a gene carrier. The 16 analyzed articles allowed us to infer that the use of biopolymers as nonviral vectors is limited due to the low diversity of biopolymers used for these purposes. It was also observed that the use of different materials as nonviral vectors is based on chemical structure modifications of the material, mainly by the addition of cationic groups. Thus, the use of biopolymers as nonviral vectors is still limited to only a few polysaccharide types, emphasizing the need for further studies involving the use of different biopolymers in processes of gene transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2021


  • Polysaccharides
  • Cationic biopolymers
  • Genetic vector
  • Synthetic vector


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