Regular Article - Soft Matter
Preparation and stability of pegylated poly(S-alkyl-L-homocysteine) coacervate core micelles in aqueous media
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, 90095, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2 Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, 90095, Los Angeles, CA, USA
3 California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, 90095, Los Angeles, CA, USA
4 Department of Bioengineering, University of California, 90095, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Accepted: 25 August 2023
Published online: 14 September 2023
We report development and preparation of synthetic polypeptide based, coacervate core polyelectrolyte complex micelles, PCMs, in aqueous media, which were characterized and evaluated for the encapsulation and in vitro release of a model single-stranded RNA, polyadenylic acid, poly(A). Cationic, α-helical polypeptides pegylated at their N-termini, PEG113-b-5bn and PEG113-b-5cn, were designed to form coacervate core PCMs upon mixing with multivalent anions in aqueous media. Sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP) and poly(A) were used as model multivalent anions that allowed optimization of polypeptide composition and chain length for formation of stable, nanoscale PCMs. PEG113-b-5c27 was selected for preparation of PCMs that were characterized under different environmental conditions using dynamic light scattering, atomic force microscopy and cryoelectron microscopy. The PCMs were found to efficiently encapsulate poly(A), were stable at physiologically relevant pH and solution ionic strength, and were able to release poly(A) in the presence of excess polyvalent anions. These PCMs were found to be a promising model system for further development of polypeptide based therapeutic delivery vehicles.
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