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Enzyme-responsive hydrogel particles for the controlled release of proteins : designing peptide actuators to match payload

Thornton, Paul D. and Mart, Robert J. and Webb, Simon J. and Ulijn, Rein V. (2008) Enzyme-responsive hydrogel particles for the controlled release of proteins : designing peptide actuators to match payload. Soft Matter, 4 (4). pp. 821-827. ISSN 1744-6848

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Abstract

We report on enzyme-responsive hydrogel particles for the controlled release of proteins. Amino-functionalised poly(ethylene glycol acrylamide) (PEGA) hydrogel particles were functionalised with peptide actuators that cause charge-induced swelling and payload release when triggered enzymatically. Peptide-based actuators were designed to match the specificity of the target enzyme, while also matching the charge properties of the to-be released protein payload, thereby uniquely allowing for tuneable release profiles. Fluorescently labelled albumin and avidin, proteins of similar size but opposite charge, were released at a rate that was governed by the peptide actuator linked to the polymer carrier, offering a highly controlled release mechanism. Release profiles were analysed using a combination of fluorescence spectroscopy of the solution and two-photon fluorescence microscopy to analyse enzymatically triggered molecular events within hydrogel particles during the initial stages of release.