Unusual triskelion patterns and dye-labelled GUVs: consequences of the interaction of cholesterol-containing linear-hyperbranched block copolymers with phospholipids†
Cholesterol (Ch) linked to a linear-hyperbranched block copolymer composed of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and poly(glycerol) (hbPG) was investigated for its membrane anchoring properties. Two polyether-based linear-hyperbranched block copolymers with and without a covalently attached rhodamine fluorescence label (Rho) were employed (Ch-PEG30-b-hbPG23 and Ch-PEG30-b-hbPG17-Rho). Compression isotherms of co-spread 1,2-dipalmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DPPC) or 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) with the respective polymers were measured on the Langmuir trough and the morphology development of the liquid-condensed (LC) domains was studied by epi-fluorescence microscopy. LC domains were strongly deformed due to the localization of the polymers at the domain interface, indicating a line activity for both block copolymers. Simultaneously, it was observed that the presence of the fluorescence label significantly influences the domain morphology, the rhodamine labelled polymer showing higher line activity. Adsorption isotherms of the polymers to the water surface or to monolayers of DPPC and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC), respectively, were collected. Again the rhodamine labelled polymer showed higher surface activity and a higher affinity for insertion into lipid monolayers, which was negligibly affected when the sub-phase was changed to aqueous sodium chloride solution or phosphate buffer. Calorimetric investigations in bulk confirmed the results found using tensiometry. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) also confirmed the polymers' fast adsorption to and insertion into phospholipid membranes.