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Self-Assembled Virus-Like Particles from Polyferrocenylsilane-Based Polymers and Viral Capsid Proteins: Fabrication, Surface Engineering and Applications

Final Report Summary - HDIMSM (Self-Assembled Virus-Like Particles from Polyferrocenylsilane-Based Polymers and Viral Capsid Proteins: Fabrication, Surface Engineering and Applications)

Work progress and achievements during the period February 01, 2015-January 31, 2017 Goals and key milestones: a) the synthesis of PFSs and the purification of viral capsid proteins. b) the PFS-containing VLPs will be fabricated through the co-assembly of PFSs and viral capsid proteins. The mechanism of this assembly process will also be elucidated. c) the surface engineering of PFS-containing VLPs will be performed to develop liquid VLPs. d) the underlying mechanism influencing the surface-engineering behaviour of the PFS-containing VLPs will be elucidated. e) Reporting of results in international scientific journals and at international conferences. f) Outreach. g) Knowledge transfer.
The research has progressed very close to schedule (see below).
a) Polyferrocenylsilane-based block copolymers (PFSs) containing hydrophilic functional groups were synthesized via sequential living anionic polymerization and hydrophilic side-chains were prepared by photoinitiated thiol-ene functionalization.
b) The aqueous self-assemblies of hydrophilic carboxyl group-containing PFSs and several different kinds of proteins and amino acids have been systematically studied. Besides, the mechanism of the assembly process was elucidated.
c) The surface engineering of PFS-containing VLPs and microcapsules was performed to develop bio-functionalized VLPs and microcapsules.
d) The surface-engineering of the PFS-containing VLPs and microcapsules regarding their Fluorescence and biological functionalization was elucidated through the study on the properties of the VLPs and microcapsules.
e) The results as above have been drafted two papers. One of them has been published and the other one is currently in peer review process (please see below). Besides, the fellow will attend the Self-Assembly & Supramolecular Chemistry Gordon Research Conference (GRC), and Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) during May of 2017 to present the results of the project as a discussion leader in the GRS.
f) Outreach activities: Dr. Dou has participated in teaching a postgraduate course on "Recent Advances with Soft Nanomaterials" in November 2015 by covering the topic "Self-Assembling Materials for Biomedical Diagnosis". The annual Bristol Bright Nights event was attended in 2017 and provided a forum for interactions with the general public and teachers.
g) Knowledge transfer: The knowledge of the co-assembly of biomacromolecules (polysaccharides or polypeptides) with synthetic polymers has been transferred to both the Manners group and the Mann group by Dr. Dou through day-to-day work with group personnel and by providing lectures during the weekly group meetings. Meanwhile, knowledge of PFS copolymer synthesis and protocell preparation has been transferred to Dr. Dou from the Manners group and the Mann group. New collaboration between the three-parties, i.e. Manners group, the Mann group, and the fellow’s group at Shanghai Jiao Tong University has been established based on the fellow’s work.
h) Other research achievements beyond the original scope of this proposal: An investigation on the interfacial assembly of poly(ferrocenylsilane) (PFS)-based micelles and their potential applications as biomimetic protocells has been conducted. In this part of study, PFS-based block copolymers containing a hydrophilic block were synthesized and water-dispersible cylindrical micelles were subsequently prepared via the crystallization-driven living self-assembly approach. On this basis, the hydrophilic PFS cylindrical micelles were designed to self-assemble at the interface between water and an appropriate oil, and the potential of the resultant Pickering emulsion droplets serving as biomimetic protocells was systematically investigated.
i) The papers published and submitted: (1) Hongjing Dou, Mei Li, Yan Qiao†, Robert Harniman†, Xiaoyu Li, Charlotte E. Boott, Stephen Mann* and Ian Manners*, Higher-order assembly of crystalline cylindrical micelles into membrane-extendable colloidosomes, Nature Communications, in peer review, manuscript number: NCOMMS-17-03015-T. †These authors contributed equally.