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Macromol Rapid Commun. 2012 May 14;33(9):819-26. doi: 10.1002/marc.201100881. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Stimuli-responsive peptide-based ABA-triblock copolymers: unique morphology transitions with pH.

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  • 1School of Polymers and High Performance Materials, The University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive #5050, Hattiesburg, MS 39406, USA.


We report the synthesis and solution characterization of poly(L-lysine)-b-poly(propylene oxide)-b-poly(L-lysine) (KPK) triblock copolymers with high lysine weight fractions (>75 wt%). In contrast to PK diblock copolymers in this composition range, KPK triblock copolymers exhibit morphology transitions as a function of pH. Using a combination of light-scattering and microscopy techniques, we demonstrate spherical micelle-vesicle and spherical micelle-disk micelle transitions for different K fractions. We interpret these morphology changes in terms of the energy penalty associated with folding the core P block to form a spherical micelle in relation to the interfacial curvature associated with different charged states of the K block.

Copyright © 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

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