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Keywords:

  • biomedical applications;
  • bionanotechnology;
  • polymeric materials;
  • self-assembly;
  • surface plasmon resonance

Abstract

Nanosized polymersomes functionalized with peptides or proteins are being increasingly studied for targeted delivery of diagnostic and therapeutic molecules. Earlier computational studies have suggested that ellipsoidal nanoparticles, compared to spherical ones, display enhanced binding efficiency with target cells, but this has not yet been experimentally validated. Here, it is hypothesized that hydrophilic polymer chains coupled to vesicle-forming polymers would result in ellipsoidal polymersomes. In addition, ellipsoidal polymersomes modified with cell adhesion peptides bind with target cells more actively than spherical ones. This hypothesis is examined by substituting polyaspartamide with octadecyl chains and varying numbers of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) chains. Increasing the degree of substitution of PEG drives the polymer to self-assemble into an ellipsoidal polymersome with an aspect ratio of 2.1. Further modification of these ellipsoidal polymersomes with peptides containing an Arg-Gly-Asp sequence leads to a significant increase in the rate of association and decrease in the rate of dissociation with a substrate coated with αvβ3 integrins. The results will serve to improve the efficiency of targeted delivery of a wide array of polymersomes loaded with various biomedical modalities.