Light opens: Photocontrolled transmembrane passage of soluble dyes and delivery of small peptides into mammalian cells has been achieved using azobenzene-modified polymers (AMPs) as permeabilizing agents. Irradiation with UV and visible light triggers polarity switches upon cis–trans isomerization of the azobenzene moieties. Photoresponsive permeability and pore opening promoted by trans-AMPs, but not cis-AMPs, in supported lipid bilayers are observed.
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