Ionic liquids as solution media for bioconjugation

Ionic liquids as solution media for bioconjugationWater soluble polymers, once reserved for commodity applications (i.e., shaving cream, emulsification processes, etc.) have emerged as valuable materials for medicine.  Combining synthetic polymers with therapeutic proteins and cancer drugs improves the “therapeutic index” of the drugs, preventing their fast elimination from the body, and improving their availability for treating the disease.  Emrick at the UMass Materials Research Science and Engineering Center found that ionic liquids provide an excellent environment for the attachment of proteins to synthetic polymers.  Water soluble polymers like “polyMPC” shown in the figure are of interest for conjugation to proteins for medicine.  However, the conjugation reaction itself is problematic when performed in water, due to loss of the reactive end-group to hydrolysis.  Ionic liquids were found to provide an alternative medium for this conjugation, as the polar but aqueous-free characteristics of ionic liquids prevent competition of water for the reactive site at the polymer-chain-end, leading to clean, efficient conjugation.  Such efficient and convenient bioconjugation strategies are critically important for scale-up and optimization of new polymer-based conjugates for medicine.meso-chiral structures formed in chiral block copolymer materials yet to be discovered.