Triggered Polymersome Fusion


The contents of biological cells are retained within compartments formed of phospholipid membranes. The movement of material within and between cells is often mediated by the fusion of phospholipid membranes, which allows mixing of contents or excretion of material into the surrounding environment. Biological membrane fusion is a highly regulated process that is catalyzed by proteins and often triggered by cellular signaling. In contrast, the controlled fusion of polymer-based membranes is largely unexplored, despite the potential application of this process in nanomedicine, smart materials, and reagent trafficking. Here, we demonstrate triggered polymersome fusion. Out-of-equilibrium polymersomes were formed by ring-opening metathesis polymerization-induced self-assembly and persist until a specific chemical signal (pH change) triggers their fusion. Characterization of polymersomes was performed by a variety of techniques, including dynamic light scattering, dry-state/cryogenic-transmission electron microscopy, and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The fusion process was followed by time-resolved SAXS analysis. Developing elementary methods of communication between polymersomes, such as fusion, will prove essential for emulating life-like behaviors in synthetic nanotechnology.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR)
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Institute of Urban Technology and the Environment (ASTUTE)
Additional Information: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) Funding Information: We thank the University of Birmingham and ERC (grant 615142) for funding. S.D.P.F. thanks the Leverhulme Trust for an Early Career Fellowship (ECF-2021-240). Publisher Copyright: © 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Microscopy, Electron, Transmission,Nanotechnology,Polymers/chemistry,Scattering, Small Angle,X-Ray Diffraction
Publication ISSN: 1520-5126
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2023-03-15
Accepted Date: 2022-12-07
Authors: Fielden, Stephen D. P.
Derry, Matthew J. (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-5010-6725)
Miller, Alisha J.
Topham, Paul D. (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4152-6976)
O’Reilly, Rachel K.



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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