Templated Assembly of Protein polymersomes


Author: Feng Li
Supervisor: Ton Marcelis

Email: Feng.Li@wur.nl

Tel. 0031 317 482375


The use of self-assembled block-copolymer systems as biomimetic structures instead of phospholipids and proteins is a key objective in modern biophysical studies.   These systems would have great applications in the development of biosensing technologies and in medical science for purposes such as drug delivery and tissue engineering.   A great advantage is the superior resilience and stability of these associates compared to those of phospholipids.  In addition block copolymer assemblies are highly manipulable.  Amphiphilic block copolymer systems have been shown to form assembled structures of monolayers, bilayers and vesicles.  A unique feature of several copolymer systems is the formation of polymersomes which are vesicular structures with wide ranging biological and medical applications.  In fact block copolymers form many different interesting assemblies ranging from nanotubes to giant vesicles.

The objective of this project is to prepare protein polymersome with biocompatibility, which are prepared from inexpensive and easily available block copolymer and well defined biosynthetic triblock peptide copolymer. Upon triggering by macromolecules (DNA, siRNA, polypeptides, etc), these protein associate to the polymersome along with the macromolecules. These multifunctional protein polymersome may serve as an ideal carrier for gene delivery and drug delivery. With some post processing on the proteins, targetable groups can be covalently linked to the polymersome, and which is a novel approach for gene therapy, e.g. gene silence at specified location.
Figure 1. scheme presentation of protein polymersome formation.

Fields of interests:

soft mater, polymer self assembling, drug delivery, gene therapy, functional biological material, self consistent field theory,  conducting polymers