Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 26, 2019
Previous Article Next Article

Tuning the membrane permeability of polymersome nanoreactors developed by aqueous emulsion polymerization-induced self-assembly

Author affiliations

Abstract

Polymeric vesicles (or polymersomes) are hollow bilayer structures consisting of an inner aqueous compartment enclosed by a hydrophobic membrane. Vesicular constructs are ubiquitous in nature and perform a variety of functions by compartmentalizing molecules into disparate environments. For polymer chemists, the synthesis of vesicles can be readily accomplished using polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA), whereby pure vesicle morphologies can be easily accessed by tuning initial reaction parameters. Research into polymersomes is motivated primarily by the fact that hydrophilic cargo such as drug molecules, DNA, or enzymes can be encapsulated and protected from the often harsh conditions of the surrounding environment. A key factor governing the capability of vesicles to retain and protect their cargo is the permeability of their hydrophobic membrane. Herein, we demonstrate that membrane permeability of enzyme-loaded epoxy-functionalized polymersomes synthesized by aqueous emulsion PISA can be modulated via epoxide ring-opening with various diamine cross-linkers and hydrophobic primary amines. In general, membrane cross-linking or amine conjugation resulted in increased polymersome membrane thickness. Membrane modification was also found to decrease permeability in all cases, as measured by enzymatically-catalysed oxidation of an externally administered substrate. Functionalization with hydrophobic amines resulted in the largest reduction in enzyme activity, suggesting significant blocking of substrate diffusion into the central aqueous compartment. This procedurally facile strategy yields meaningful insight into how the chemical structure of the membrane influences permeability and thus could be generally applied to the formulation of polymeric vesicles for therapeutic applications.

Graphical abstract: Tuning the membrane permeability of polymersome nanoreactors developed by aqueous emulsion polymerization-induced self-assembly

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 22 Mar 2019, accepted on 13 Jun 2019 and first published on 15 Jun 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9NR02507C
Nanoscale, 2019,11, 12643-12654
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Tuning the membrane permeability of polymersome nanoreactors developed by aqueous emulsion polymerization-induced self-assembly

    S. Varlas, J. C. Foster, P. G. Georgiou, R. Keogh, J. T. Husband, D. S. Williams and R. K. O'Reilly, Nanoscale, 2019, 11, 12643
    DOI: 10.1039/C9NR02507C

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements