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Oxidation-Responsive and "Clickable" Poly(ethylene glycol) via Copolymerization of 2-(Methylthio)ethyl Glycidyl Ether

Oxidation-Responsive and "Clickable" Poly(ethylene glycol) via Copolymerization of 2-(Methylthio)ethyl Glycidyl Ether

Journal of the American Chemical Society 138(29): 9212-9223

Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) is a widely used biocompatible polymer. We describe a novel epoxide monomer with methyl-thioether moiety, 2-(methylthio)ethyl glycidyl ether (MTEGE), which enables the synthesis of well-defined thioether-functional poly(ethylene glycol). Random and block mPEG-b-PMTEGE copolymers (Mw/Mn = 1.05-1.17) were obtained via anionic ring opening polymerization (AROP) with molecular weights ranging from 5 600 to 12 000 g·mol(-1). The statistical copolymerization of MTEGE with ethylene oxide results in a random microstructure (rEO = 0.92 ± 0.02 and rMTEG E = 1.06 ± 0.02), which was confirmed by in situ (1)H NMR kinetic studies. The random copolymers are thermoresponsive in aqueous solution, with a wide range of tunable transition temperatures of 88 to 28 °C. In contrast, mPEG-b-PMTEGE block copolymers formed well-defined micelles (Rh ≈ 9-15 nm) in water, studied by detailed light scattering (DLS and SLS). Intriguingly, the thioether moieties of MTEGE can be selectively oxidized into sulfoxide units, leading to full disassembly of the micelles, as confirmed by detection of pure unimers (DLS and SLS). Oxidation-responsive release of encapsulated Nile Red demonstrates the potential of these micelles as redox-responsive nanocarriers. MTT assays showed only minor effects of the thioethers and their oxidized derivatives on the cellular metabolism of WEHI-164 and HEK-293T cell lines (1-1000 μg·mL(-1)). Further, sulfonium PEG polyelectrolytes can be obtained via alkylation or alkoxylation of MTEGE, providing access to a large variety of functional groups at the charged sulfur atom.

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Accession: 058488351

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 27375132

DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b04548

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