Molecularly imprinted polymers as receptor mimics for selective cell recognition
Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) have now earned the reputation as “artificial receptors” or “plastic antibodies”. As the mimics of natural receptors, MIPs are reminiscent of some basic functions of natural receptors in living systems, e.g., the ability to interact with or recognize cells. The latest decade has witnessed a great advance in MIPs from simple molecular extraction to efficient cell recognition, implying that MIP-based synthetic receptors are approaching to be perfectly functioning replicates of their natural counterparts. With the most emerging development in molecular imprinting, MIP-mediated cell recognition has now shown great promise in cell biology research, theranostics and regenerative medicine. This tutorial review provides a panoramic view of current MIPs for both microorganism and mammalian cell recognition. The most representative developments of MIP-mediated cell recognition, from initial imprinting strategies to eventual bio-related applications, are highlighted.