Functional Polyelectrolyte Complex Micelles with Elastin-Like Peptide Segments

Description: This proposal combines the innovative work of the Bordeaux team on elastin-like polypeptides (ELP) with the experience of the UChicago team on polyelectrolyte complexation of nucleic acids with the eventual goal to create new delivery vehicles for nucleotide therapeutics. The CNRS and Chicago collaborations each have strong track records in different aspects of self-assembly of functional materials. Each team also brings distinctive capabilities to the proposed project, for example, materials synthesis in Bordeaux, access to synchrotron x-ray scattering in Chicago. There is a good balance of overlap and complementarity. The project will begin by examining the temperature sensitivity of these objects enabled by the inclusion of ELP components. The second part of the project will examine specifically the packaging of nucleic acids. Altogether, this project combines innovative thermosensitive polyelectrolytes based on ELP-b-polypeptide copolymers, leading to a new generation of PECM with pH and T-responsiveness and possibly to a smart mechanism of delivery of charged biomacromolecules by physical inversion.

Collaboration: Matt Tirrell lab (Univ. Chicago, USA)