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Polymersomes in “Gelly” Polymersomes: Toward Structural Cell Mimicry

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posted on 31.01.2012, 00:00 by Maïté Marguet, Olivier Sandre, Sébastien Lecommandoux
We demonstrate here the formation of compartmentalized polymersomes with an internal “gelly” cavity using an original and versatile process. Nanosize polymersomes of poly­(trimethylene carbonate)-b-poly­(l-glutamic acid) (PTMC-b-PGA), formed by a solvent displacement method are encapsulated with a rough “cytoplasm mimic” in giant polymersomes of poly­(butadiene)-b-poly­(ethylene oxide) PB-b-PEO by emulsion–centrifugation. Such a system constitutes a first step toward the challenge of structural cell mimicry with both “organelles” and “cytoplasm mimics”. The structure is demonstrated with fluorescence labeling and confocal microscopy imaging with movies featuring the motion of the inner nanosize polymersomes in larger vesicles. Without “cytoplasm mimic”, the motion was confirmed to be Brownian by particle tracking analysis. The inner nanosize polymersomes motion was blocked in the presence of alginate, but only hindered in the presence of dextran. With the use of such high molecular weight and concentrated polysaccharides, the crowded internal volume of cells, responsible for the so-called “macromolecular crowding” effect influencing every intracellular macromolecular association, seems to be efficiently mimicked. This study constitutes major progress in the field of structural biomimicry and will certainly enable the rise of new, highly interesting properties in the field of high-added value soft matter.

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