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Polymeric monolayers and liposomes as models for biomembranes

How to bridge the gap between polymer science and membrane biology?
  • Hubert Bader
  • Klaus Dorn
  • Bernd Hupfer
  • Helmut Ringsdorf
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Polymer Science book series (POLYMER, volume 64)

Abstract

Polymer chemists as poachers in foreign grounds? Why not? Macromolecular chemistry has become a mature science with all advantages and handicaps of a well-established scientific discipline: many heights are conquerred and the harvest is abundant, but adventures and the future might be elsewhere. Besides, in these times of bottomed out industrial profits in common plastics, future polymer chemistry cannot be limited to repetitive improvement of already successful mass polymers but should rather expand into neighboring fields of material science as well as life science where “polymer thinking” might help to overcome difficulties. — First hesitant steps on the bridge towards membrane biology have been made.

This contribution will first deal with stabilization of membrane model systems (monolayers, black lipid membranes, vesicles) in general. The desired further biological functionalization of these stabilized polymeric membranes is possible via incorporation of proteins. Addition of natural lipids to polymerizable membranes and enzymatic degradation of the unpolymerized component after polymerization allows selective opening of otherwise stable compartments. Cell-cell recognition — of vital importance in immunological reactions — can be mimicked with polymeric vesicles carrying sugar headgroups. Finally, attempts are made to unite biological specification of natural cells and toughness of polymerized membranes via cell-vesicle fusion.

Macromolecular chemistry is far from being able to provide ultimate solutions for specific problems in membrane biology or life science in general. However in “going for it” polymer chemists can only benefit from the many chances to learn. The key attitudes to enjoy this advanture are courage to enter neighboring fields and, especially, the willingness to cooperate. This is perfectly illustrated in Fig. 1 by H. von Saalfeld and his artistic view of scientists and their unpretended willingness to cooperate 90).

Keywords

Head Group Phase Transition Temperature Differential Scanning Calorimetry Trace Mixed Monolayer Natural Lipid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hubert Bader
    • 1
  • Klaus Dorn
    • 1
  • Bernd Hupfer
    • 1
  • Helmut Ringsdorf
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Organische ChemieJohannes Gutenberg-UniversitätMainzFRG

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