A new class of artificial molecular transport system is constructed by polymeric microspheres. The microspheres are prepared by self-assembly of poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(3-dimethyl(methacryloyloxyethyl)ammonium propane sulfonate), PEG-b-PDMAPS, by intermolecular dipole-dipole interaction of sulfobetaine side chains in water. Below the upper critical solution temperature (UCST) of PEG-b-PDMAPS, the microspheres (∼1μm) interact with other microspheres by partial and transit fusion. In order to apply the interaction between microspheres, a 3'-TAMRA-labeled single-stranded DNA oligomer (ssDNA) is encapsulated into a PEG-b-PDMAPS microsphere by thermal treatment. The exchange of ssDNA between microspheres is confirmed by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) quenching derived from double-stranded formation with complementary 5'-BHQ-2-labeled ssDNA encapsulated in PEG-b-PDMAPS microspheres. The exchange rate of ssDNA is controllable by tuning the composition of the polymer. The contact-dependent transport of molecules can be applied in the areas of microreactors, sensor devices, etc.
Keywords: Double strand formation; Microspheres; Self-assembly; Single-stranded DNA oligomer; Zwitterionic block copolymers.
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