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Biomimetic block copolymer particles with gated nanopores and ultrahigh protein sorption capacity

Nature Communications volume 5, Article number: 4110 (2014) | Download Citation

Abstract

The design of micro- or nanoparticles that can encapsulate sensitive molecules such as drugs, hormones, proteins or peptides is of increasing importance for applications in biotechnology and medicine. Examples are micelles, liposomes and vesicles. The tiny and, in most cases, hollow spheres are used as vehicles for transport and controlled administration of pharmaceutical drugs or nutrients. Here we report a simple strategy to fabricate microspheres by block copolymer self-assembly. The microsphere particles have monodispersed nanopores that can act as pH-responsive gates. They contain a highly porous internal structure, which is analogous to the Schwarz P structure. The internal porosity of the particles contributes to their high sorption capacity and sustained release behaviour. We successfully separated similarly sized proteins using these particles. The ease of particle fabrication by macrophase separation and self-assembly, and the robustness of the particles makes them ideal for sorption, separation, transport and sustained delivery of pharmaceutical substances.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and also thank Dr Ali Reza Behzad and Dr Lan Zhao from the Advanced Nanofabrication, Imaging and Characterization Lab at KAUST for help with the Cryo-FESEM and SEM.

Author information

Author notes

    • Haizhou Yu
    •  & Xiaoyan Qiu

    These authors contributed equally to this work

Affiliations

  1. Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center, 4700 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    • Haizhou Yu
    • , Xiaoyan Qiu
    •  & Klaus-Viktor Peinemann
  2. Water Desalination and Reuse Center, 4700 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    • Suzana P. Nunes

Authors

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Contributions

H.Y. and X.Q. performed the experiments and wrote the manuscript; S.P.N. discussed the particle formation mechanism; K.-V.P. gave conceptual advice and edited the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript at all stages.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Klaus-Viktor Peinemann.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms5110

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