Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biomaterials: Nestled in

13.10.2011
Multi-compartment globular structures assembled from polymer-based materials may soon serve as cell prototypes

The cell is a host of many complex reaction pathways. These pathways usually do not interfere with each other because they are contained within membrane-bound compartments, known as organelles. The lipid membrane is extremely selective—only allowing certain signalling molecules to permeate through—and plays an important role in biological processes, such as protein synthesis and the regulation of enzymatic reactions.

Madhavan Nallani from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and co-workers¹ have now synthesized a new type of multi-compartment structure known as a polymersome, which mimics cellular compartmentalization through the use of self-assembling polymers.

Although many researchers have created artificial structures designed to imitate cells, their efforts have primarily been restricted to lipid and polymer-based structures with only one compartment. Nallani and his team designed a system consisting of two compartments self-assembled sequentially. “Most importantly, the membranes of different compartments are made from different materials,” Nallani says. As a consequence of this unique feature, the properties of the membranes can be tuned.

To make the polymersomes, the team opted for amphiphilic block copolymers—polymers composed of subunits with opposite affinity to water. Nallani explains that this difference in wettability is what drives the copolymers to self-organise into compartments. “One of the challenges that we encountered is the selection of materials to form such architectures,” he adds.

The researchers first synthesized single-compartment particles using one copolymer. They then entrapped each of these first structures in a second shell by adding a solution containing another type of copolymer. In the resulting multi-compartmentalized architectures, the inner particle consisted of a tightly packed, low-permeability membrane and was surrounded by a semi-permeable outer membrane that lets small molecules through.

Nallani and his team tested the selectivity of the compartment membranes for the encapsulation of biomolecules. As a proof of concept, they encased one kind of fluorescent protein that emits green light and another variety that displays red-light emission in the polymersomes. The inner part of the particles emitted green light while the outer compartment emitted red light (see image). The result suggests that the proteins were localized in two separate sections according to their type.

“Our system may add value in applications such as drug delivery and multi-enzyme biosynthesis,” says Nallani. The researchers are currently designing compartments that allow different components to mix just before reaching target cells. They are also introducing membrane proteins within these compartments that may facilitate the transport of products formed in one compartment to another.

Fu, Z., Ochsner, M. A., de Hoog, H.-P. M., Tomczak, N. & Nallani, M. Multicompartmentalized polymersomes for selective encapsulation of biomacromolecules. Chemical Communications 47, 2862–2864 (2011).

Lee Swee Heng | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.research.a-star.edu.sg/
http://www.researchsea.com

Further reports about: Biomaterial biological process green light

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern
20.07.2018 | Princeton University

nachricht Relax, just break it
20.07.2018 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>