Bioconjugates of smart polymers and proteins: synthesis and applications



Over the past 20 years we have been deeply involved with the synthesis and applications of stimuli-responsive polymer systems, especially polymer-biomolecule conjugates. The work of Toyoichi Tanaka has been a constant inspiration for our work and this article is dedicated to him. This article summarizes the research that we have carried out along with many collaborators on polymer-protein conjugates. We include conjugates prepared by random polymer conjugation to lysine amino groups, and also those prepared by site-specific conjugation of the polymer to specific amino acid sites that are genetically-engineered into the known amino acid sequence of the protein. We describe the preparation and properties of thermally-sensitive, random conjugates to enzymes and several affinity recognition proteins. We have also prepared site-specific conjugates to streptavidin. with temperature-sensitive polymers, pH-sensitive polymers, and light-sensitive polymers. The preparation of these conjugates and their many fascinating applications are reviewed in this article.