Polymer Ligands for Nanoparticles Conjugation with Biomolecules
Professor Mattoussi developed polymer ligands that are optimally suited for surface-functionalizing magnetic nanoparticles. The amphiphilic polymers are prepared by coupling several amine-terminated anchoring groups, polyethylene glycol moieties, and reactive groups onto a poly(isobutylene-alt-maleic anhydride) (PIMA) chain. The reaction of maleic anhydride groups with amine-containing molecules is highly-efficient and occurs in one-step. The availability of several dopamine groups in the same ligand greatly enhances the ligand affinity, via multiple-coordination, to the magnetic NPs, while the hydrophilic and reactive groups promote colloidal stability in buffer media and allow subsequent conjugation with target biomolecules. Nanoparticles ligated with terminally reactive polymers have been easily coupled to target dyes and tested in live cell imaging with no measurable cytotoxicity.