American Chemical Society
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Modular Synthetic Platform for the Construction of Functional Single-Chain Polymeric Nanoparticles: From Aqueous Catalysis to Photosensitization

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-10-14, 00:00 authored by Yiliu Liu, Thomas Pauloehrl, Stanislav I. Presolski, Lorenzo Albertazzi, Anja R. A. Palmans, E. W. Meijer
Single-chain polymeric nanoparticles (SCPNs) are intriguing systems for multiple applications. In order to arrive at a controlled, but random, positioning of the different side groups to the polymer backbone, alternative synthetic routes have to be developed. Here, a general postpolymerization modification strategy of poly­(pentafluorophenyl acrylate) (pPFPA) is presented as a versatile method to rapidly access functional SCPNs. We first show that the sequential addition of a benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxamide-based amine, acting as the supramolecular recognition motif, and water-soluble polyetheramine (Jeffamine) to pPFPA affords random copolymers that fold in water into SCPNs. The scope of the modular platform is illustrated by preparing two types of functional SCPNs. First, we prepared SCPNs designed for bio-orthogonal catalysis by attaching pendant mono­(benzimidazoylmethyl)-bis­(pyridylmethyl) (Bimpy), phenanthroline (Phen), or 2,2′-bipyridine (BiPy), ligands capable of binding either Cu­(I) or Pd­(II). The Bimpy- and Phen-containing SCPNs ligated to Cu­(I) significantly accelerate azide–alkyne cycloaddition reactions while Bipy-containing SCPNs ligated to Pd­(II) efficiently catalyze depropargylation reactions. In all cases, reactions proceeded efficiently in phosphate buffer at a physiological pH and at low substrate concentrations. Next, the potential of SCPNs for photodynamic therapy was evaluated. Introducing porphyrins in SCPNs leads to novel photosensitizers that can produce singlet oxygen (1O2) upon photoirradiation. Additionally, by attaching both porphyrins and prodrug models, attached via 1O2-cleavable amino-acrylate linker, to the SCPNs, we show that irradiation of the SCPNs results in a cascade reaction of 1O2 generation followed by cleavage of the amino-acrylate linkers, releasing the drug model. The modular synthesis strategy reported here provides rapid and controlled access to SCPNs with tunable amounts of active units that fulfill different functions.