Enzyme-Responsive Amphiphilic PEG-Dendron Hybrids and their Self-Assembly into Smart Micellar Nano-Carriers

Assaf Harnoy, Organic Chemistry, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

Stimuli-responsive nano-carrier systems have been attracting increased attention due to their ability to carry hydrophobic substances and release them upon external stimuli. One class of such carriers is based on micelle-forming stimuli-responsive amphiphilic block copolymers, which can be used to encapsulate various poorly soluble hydrophobic molecules inside the micelles' hydrophobic cores. Most stimuli-responsive systems are designed to respond to variations in pH, temperature, irradiated light or their combinations. However, enzymes are of great potential to act as triggers due to their specificity towards their substrates, catalytic efficiency and natural abundance in biological tissues. The following amphiphilic PEG-dendron hybrid molecules were designed to self-assemble into nano-sized polymeric micelles in aqueous media and to disassemble upon enzymatic stimuli. This system can potentially be used as a platform for enhancing the solubility and allowing controlled release of hydrophobic drugs and dyes at their target site.

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