A modular approach for multifunctional polymersomes with controlled adhesive properties†
The bottom-up approach in synthetic biology involves the engineering of synthetic cells by designing biological and chemical building blocks, which can be combined in order to mimic cellular functions. The first step for mimicking a living cell is the design of an appropriate compartment featuring a multifunctional membrane. This is of particular interest since it allows for the selective attachment of different groups or molecules to the membrane. In this context, we report on a modular approach for polymeric vesicles, so-called polymersomes, with a multifunctional surface, namely hydroxyl, alkyne and acrylate groups. We demonstrate that the surface of the polymersome can be functionalized to facilitate imaging, via fluorescent dyes, or to improve the specific adhesion to surfaces by using a biotin functionalization. This generally applicable multifunctionality allows for the covalent integration of various molecules in the membrane of a synthetic cell.