Structure and characteristics of the complexes between polyampholites and anionic liposomes
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Polyampholites are synthesized by the alkylation of poly-4-vinylpyridine with ω-bromocarboxylic acids, and their interaction with the negatively charged bilayer lipid vesicles (liposomes) is studied. In the above polymers, quaternized pyridine units are zwitterion (betaine) groups, in which cationic and anionic groups are linked by the -(CH2)n-bridges. Via the methods of fluorescence, laser scattering, and DSC, the length of the ethylene spacer in the betaine group is shown to control the ability of the polymer to interact with anionic liposomes and induce structural rearrangements in the liposomal membrane. At n = 1, polybetaine is not linked to anionic liposomes. At n = 2, polybetaine is sorbed on the membrane, but it causes no dramatic structural rearrangements in the bilayer. At n = 3, the adsorption of polybetaine triggers the lateral segregation of lipids in the outer membrane layer. At n = 5, adsorption of polymer is accompanied by the lateral segregation and flip-flop of lipid molecules; as a result, all anionic membrane lipids are involved in the microphase separation. This evidence is of evident interest for the controlled design of polymers and related complexes and conjugates for biomedical applications.
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