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Self-Propelled Carbohydrate-Sensitive Microtransporters with Built-In Boronic Acid Recognition for Isolating Sugars and Cells

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posted on 20.02.2016, 11:18 by Filiz Kuralay, Sirilak Sattayasamitsathit, Wei Gao, Aysegul Uygun, Adlai Katzenberg, Joseph Wang
A new nanomotor-based target isolation strategy, based on a “built-in” recognition capability, is presented. The concept relies on a poly­(3-aminophenylboronic acid) (PAPBA)/Ni/Pt microtube engine coupling the selective monosaccharide recognition of the boronic acid-based outer polymeric layer with the catalytic function of the inner platinum layer. The PAPBA-based microrocket is prepared by membrane-templated electropolymerization of 3-aminophenylboronic acid monomer. The resulting boronic acid-based microengine itself provides the target recognition without the need for additional external functionalization. “On-the-fly” binding and transport of yeast cells (containing sugar residues on their wall) and glucose are illustrated. The use of the recognition polymeric layer does not hinder the efficient propulsion of the microengine in aqueous and physiological media. Release of the captured yeast cells is triggered via a competitive sugar binding involving addition of fructose. No such capture and transport are observed in control experiments involving other cells or microengines. Selective isolation of monosaccharides is illustrated using polystyrene particles loaded with different sugars. Such self-propelled nanomachines with a built-in recognition capability hold considerable promise for diverse applications.