Morphology under Control: Engineering Biodegradable Stomatocytes

Imke A. B. Pijpers, Loai K. E. A. Abdelmohsen, David S. Williams, and Jan C. M. van Hest

Published: 21/11/2017


Biodegradable nanoarchitectures, with well-defined morphological features, are of great importance for nanomedical research; however, understanding (and thereby engineering) their formation is a substantial challenge. Herein, we uncover the supramolecular potential of PEG–PDLLA copolymers by exploring the physicochemical determinants that result in the transformation of spherical polymersomes into stomatocytes. To this end, we have engineered blended polymersomes (comprising copolymers with varying lengths of PEG), which undergo solvent-dependent reorganization inducing negative spontaneous membrane curvature. Under conditions of anisotropic solvent composition across the PDLLA membrane, facilitated by the dialysis methodology, we demonstrate osmotically induced stomatocyte formation as a consequence of changes in PEG solvation, inducing negative spontaneous membrane curvature. Controlled formation of unprecedented, biodegradable stomatocytes represents the unification of supramolecular engineering with the theoretical understanding of shape transformation phenomena.

Full Access Link: ACS Macro Letters