Jump to main content
Jump to site search


Polymer stiffness governs template mediated self-assembly of liposome-like nanoparticles: simulation, theory and experiment

Author affiliations

Abstract

This study suggests that the self-assembly of a template-mediated liposome (TML) can be utilized as a general method to produce liposomes with controlled sizes. A polymer tethered core is used here as a starting configuration of a TML. Lipids anchored to the free ends of the tethered polymers direct the self-assembly of surrounding free lipid molecules to form liposome-like nanoparticles. Characterizing the flexibility of polymers by their persistence lengths, we performed large scale molecular simulations to investigate the self-assembly process of TMLs with tethered polymers of different stiffness values. The stiffness of tethered polymer is found to play a crucial role in the self-assembly process of TMLs. The flexible and rigid-like polymers can accelerate and delay the self-assembly of TMLs, respectively. In addition, the critical grafting of tethered polymers and required lipid concentrations to from perfectly encapsulated TMLs are found to increase with the flexibility of tethered polymers. To scrutinize these simulation-based findings, we synthesized DNA-polyethylene glycol (PEG) TMLs and performed corresponding experiments. To this end we incorporate increasing concentrations of DNA as a proxy for increasing the rigidity of the tethered polymers. We find that the resulting structures are indeed consistent with the simulated ones. Finally, a theory is developed that allows one to estimate the required free lipid number (or lipid concentration) and grafting density analytically for polymers of a given persistence length. Through these combined computational, experimental, and theoretical studies, we present a predictive model for determining the effect of polymer stiffness on the self-assembly of TMLs, which can be used as a general approach for obtaining perfectly encapsulated TMLs as potential drug delivery vehicles.

Graphical abstract: Polymer stiffness governs template mediated self-assembly of liposome-like nanoparticles: simulation, theory and experiment

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 15 Aug 2019, accepted on 07 Oct 2019 and first published on 08 Oct 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9NR07063J
Nanoscale, 2019, Advance Article

  •   Request permissions

    Polymer stiffness governs template mediated self-assembly of liposome-like nanoparticles: simulation, theory and experiment

    Z. Shen, D. T. Loe, A. Fisher, M. Kröger, J. L. Rouge and Y. Li, Nanoscale, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C9NR07063J

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements