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Biophys J. 2004 Sep;87(3):1711-21.

Interaction of poly(L-lysine)-g-poly(ethylene glycol) with supported phospholipid bilayers.

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Bio Interface Group, Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology, Department of Materials, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland.


Interactions between the graft copolymer poly(L-lysine)-g-poly(ethylene glycol), PLL-g-PEG, and two kinds of surface-supported lipidic systems (supported phospholipid bilayers and supported vesicular layers) were investigated by a combination of microscopic and spectroscopic techniques. It was found that the application of the copolymer to zwitterionic or negatively charged supported bilayers in a buffer of low ionic strength led to their decomposition, with the resulting formation of free copolymer-lipid complexes. The same copolymer had no destructive effect on a supported vesicular layer made up of vesicles of identical composition. A comparison between poly(L-lysine), which did not induce decomposition of supported bilayers, and PLL-g-PEG copolymers with various amounts of PEG side chains per backbone lysine unit, suggested that steric repulsion between the PEG chains that developed upon adsorption of the polymer to the nearly planar surface of a supported phospholipid bilayer (SPB) was one of the factors responsible for the destruction of the SPBs by the copolymer. Other factors included the ionic strength of the buffer used and the quality of the bilayers, pointing toward the important role defects present in the SPBs play in the decomposition process.

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