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Nucleo-copolymers: nucleotide-based amphiphilic copolymers

English title Nucleo-copolymers: nucleotide-based amphiphilic copolymers
Applicant Nardin Corinne Rosa
Number 118144
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Physikalische Chemie Departement Chemie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Physical Chemistry
Start/End 01.10.2007 - 30.09.2008
Approved amount 60'310.00
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Keywords (17)

nucleotide; amphiphile; copolymer; self-assembly; hybridization; vesicles; polymer chemistry; physical chemistry; hierarchical organization; DNA chips; drug delivery; gene therapy; cell-material interactions; nanostructure; microcontact printing; tissue engineering; implant

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
We suggest here an interdisciplinary project based on the most fascinating natural polymer: DNA.
A synthetic polymer is composed of covalently linked building units, the monomers. In comparison, Nature is able to produce a polymer based on more than one monomer, i. e. four units: the adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine nucleotides. Composed of more than two building units, a nucleotide sequence can be considered as a copolymer.
Synthetic copolymers are being widely investigated for their ability to self-assemble in solution or organize onto surfaces at the nanometer length-scale. Our interests focus on the self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers in aqueous solution. They are composed of at least two blocks: a hydrophobic polymer segment connected to a hydrophobic chain and self-assemble into micelles of various shapes such as spherical or worm-like micelles and vesicles.
As a nucleotide sequence further undergoes hybridization by base-pairing, we recently designed a nucleotide-based amphiphilic diblock copolymer to combine the two processes: self-assembly and hybridization in one macromolecule (Teixeira Jr. et al., Chem. Commun., 2007).
In addition to self-assembling into nanometer-sized hollow spheres, we foresee the following interesting aspects that are proposed here.
The chemistry route we were using prevents tedious synthesis and purification steps. It needs however to be scaled-up: we are currently working in the mg range, which is not negligible yet limits deeper investigations. Two approaches are proposed, synthetic vs. genetic engineering.
This scale up of the production will enable first to comprehensively investigate the self-assembly in dilute aqueous solution and at the air-water interface. Efforts will especially focus on the stimuli responsiveness particular to the presence of the nucleotide sequence in the nucleo-copolymer.
The hybridization ability is however one of the main interesting properties of the nucleo-copolymer. We will thus investigate the effect of base-pairing on the nucleo-copolymers self-assembly in solution. Size and even morphology effects can be expected. In a further step, we will investigate the hybridization efficiency of the nucleo-copolymers when immobilized onto surfaces, compared to that obtained with conventional micro-arrays.
Being nucleotide sequences recognized by cells, we will eventually investigate cell-nucleo-copolymers interactions.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
121822 Nucleo-copolymers self-assembly into oligomersomes to study hybridization onto surfaces 01.10.2008 Project funding
107894 Key-lock copolymers: From self-assembly to therapy 01.09.2005 Project funding
128380 Model Bioactive Self-Assemblies 01.01.2011 SNSF Professorships