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Triblock Copolymer as an Effective Membrane-Sealing Material

Wu, Guohui and Frey, Shelli L. and Maskarinec, Stacey A. and Lee, Ka Yee C. (2006) Triblock Copolymer as an Effective Membrane-Sealing Material. MRS Bulletin, 31 (7). pp. 532-535. ISSN 0883-7694.

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An intact cell membrane serves as a permeable barrier, regulating the influx and efflux of ions and small molecules. When the integrity of the membrane is compromised, its barrier function is also disrupted, threatening the survival of the cell. Triblock copolymer surfactants of the form poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(propylene oxide)-poly(ethylene oxide) have been shown to help seal structurally damaged membranes, arresting the leakage of intracellular materials. In order to understand how this particular family of triblock copolymers helps seal damaged membranes, model lipid monolayer and bilayer systems have been used to unravel the nature of the lipid/copolymer interaction. The copolymer surfactant is found to selectively insert into structurally compromised membranes, thus localizing its sealing effect on the damaged regions. The inserted polymer is “squeezed out” when the lipid packing density is increased, suggesting a mechanism for the cell to be rid of the polymer when the membrane integrity is restored.

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Additional Information: © 2006, Materials Research Society G. Wu acknowledges the support of Burroughs Wellcome Fund Interfaces #1001774. S.L. Frey is supported by a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship. This work was supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (99–1465), the University of Chicago MRSEC Program of the National Science Foundation under award DMR0213745, and an NSF/SCRIF junior faculty grant (CHE/9816513). Special issue: Materials Science of Supported Lipid Membranes, MRS Bulletin Volume 31, No. 7 (July 2006)
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:WUGmrsb06
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4731
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:05 Sep 2006
Last Modified:02 Oct 2019 23:15

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