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Giant Polymer Compartments for Confined Reactions

Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, Mattenstrasse 24a, BPR 1096, 4002 Basel, Switzerland
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Chemistry 2020, 2(2), 470-489;
Received: 25 April 2020 / Revised: 7 May 2020 / Accepted: 8 May 2020 / Published: 12 May 2020
In nature, various specific reactions only occur in spatially controlled environments. Cell compartment and subcompartments act as the support required to preserve the bio-specificity and functionality of the biological content, by affording absolute segregation. Inspired by this natural perfect behavior, bottom-up approaches are on focus to develop artificial cell-like structures, crucial for understanding relevant bioprocesses and interactions or to produce tailored solutions in the field of therapeutics and diagnostics. In this review, we discuss the benefits of constructing polymer-based single and multicompartments (capsules and giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs)), equipped with biomolecules as to mimic cells. In this respect, we outline key examples of how such structures have been designed from scratch, namely, starting from the application-oriented selection and synthesis of the amphiphilic block copolymer. We then present the state-of-the-art techniques for assembling the supramolecular structure while permitting the encapsulation of active compounds and the incorporation of peptides/membrane proteins, essential to support in situ reactions, e.g., to replicate intracellular signaling cascades. Finally, we briefly discuss important features that these compartments offer and how they could be applied to engineer the next generation of microreactors, therapeutic solutions, and cell models. View Full-Text
Keywords: artificial cells; biomimicry; polymer GUVs; polymer capsules; single compartments; multicompartments artificial cells; biomimicry; polymer GUVs; polymer capsules; single compartments; multicompartments
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dos Santos, E.C.; Angelini, A.; Hürlimann, D.; Meier, W.; Palivan, C.G. Giant Polymer Compartments for Confined Reactions. Chemistry 2020, 2, 470-489.

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