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Stomatocyte Nanomotors: Programmed Supramolecular Architectures for Autonomous Movement (StomaMotor)
Date du début: 1 sept. 2012, Date de fin: 31 août 2017 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

The main goal of this ERC proposal is to harness a completely new approach to constructing biocompatible nanomotors, using supramolecular assembly of amphiphilic block-copolymers for loading the engine and catalysis as the driving force for autonomous movement. Polymersomes assembled from amphiphilic block copolymers can be further re-engineered to perform a controlled shape transformation from a thermodynamically stable spherical morphology to a kinetically trapped stomatocyte structure with controlled opening. These stable structures can selectively entrap catalytically active nanoparticles within their nanocavity making their design ideal for nanoreactor applications. The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide by an entrapped catalyst has been shown to generate a rapid discharge of gases and consequently generate thrust and directional movement. The design of the loaded stomatocytes is a truly miniature monopropellant rocket engine in which the catalytically active nanoparticles are the motor, the hydrogen peroxide is the propellant and the controlled opening of the stomatocyte is the nozzle. Their unique shape allows for added capabilities, extra compartmentalization for loading efficiency, polymeric PEG surface for biocompatibility and entrapped particles for catalytic activity. The supramolecular approach to assembling the motor allows facile alteration of its constituent parts: motor, fuel and cargo to make it more suitable for biological applications (type of catalytic particles, surface modification for cellular uptake or suitable biofuels). The appropriate design of the motor with recognition sites on the surface can facilitate the recognition, isolation and transport of specific type of cells, or can navigate the payloads within the cell via chemotaxis. Besides their initial role to overcome random diffusion, these “ship-in-a-bottle” loaded stomatocytes open interesting possibilities for designing new targeted drug delivery and nanoreactor systems.