pH-sensitive tubular polymersomes: formation and applications in cellular delivery

ACS Nano. 2014 May 27;8(5):4650-61. doi: 10.1021/nn5004088. Epub 2014 Apr 29.


Optimizing the shape of a nanovector influences its interaction with a cell and determines the internalization kinetics. Block copolymer amphiphiles self-assemble into monodisperse structures in aqueous solutions and have been explored extensively as drug delivery vectors. However, the structure of self-assembled block copolymers has mainly been limited to spherical vesicles or spherical and worm-like micelles. Here we show the controlled formation and purification of tubular polymersomes, long cylindrical vesicles. Tubular polymersomes are purified from other structures, and their formation is manipulated by incorporating the biocompatible membrane components cholesterol and phospholipids. Finally we show that these tubular polymersomes have different cellular internalization kinetics compared with spherical polymersomes and can successfully encapsulate and deliver fluorescent bovine serum albumin protein intracellularly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cholesterol / chemistry
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Endocytosis
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Micelles
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Nanotubes / chemistry
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Phospholipids / chemistry
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / chemistry


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Drug Carriers
  • Micelles
  • Phospholipids
  • Polymers
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • Cholesterol