Selective ion-permeable membranes by insertion of biopores into polymersomes†
In nature there are various specific reactions for which highly selective detection or support is required to preserve their bio-specificity or/and functionality. In this respect, mimics of cell membranes and bio-compartments are essential for developing tailored applications in therapeutic diagnostics. Being inspired by nature, we present here biomimetic nanocompartments with ion-selective membrane permeability engineered by insertion of ionomycin into polymersomes with sizes less than 250 nm. As a marker to assess the proper insertion and functionality of ionomycin inside the synthetic membrane, we used a Ca2+-sensitive dye encapsulated inside the polymersome cavity prior to inserting the biopore. The calcium sensitive dye, ionomycin, and Ca2+ did not influence the architecture and the size of polymersomes. Successful ionomycin functionality inside the synthetic membrane with a thickness of 10.7 nm was established by a combination of fluorescence spectroscopy and stopped-flow spectroscopy. Polymersomes equipped with ion selective membranes are ideal candidates for the development of medical applications, such as cellular ion nanosensors or nanoreactors in which ion exchange is required to support in situ reactions.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chemical compartmentalisation by membranes: from biological mechanism to biomimetic applications