Polymersomes that incorporate aggregation-induced emission (AIE) moieties are attractive inherently fluorescent nanoparticles with biomedical application potential for cell/tissue imaging and tracking, as well as phototherapeutics. An intriguing feature that has not been explored yet is their ability to adopt a range of asymmetric morphologies. Structural asymmetry allows nanoparticles to be exploited as active (motile) systems. Here, we present the design and preparation of AIE fluorophore integrated (AIEgenic) cucurbit-shaped polymersome nanomotors with enzyme-powered motility. The cucurbit scaffold was constructed via morphology engineering of biodegradable fluorescent AIE-polymersomes, followed by functionalization with enzymatic machinery via a layer-by-layer (LBL) self-assembly process. Because of the enzyme-mediated decomposition of chemical fuel on the cucurbit-like nanomotor surface, enhanced directed motion was attained, when compared with the spherical counterparts. These cucurbit-shaped biodegradable AIE-nanomotors provide a promising platform for the development of active delivery systems with potential for biomedical applications.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the ERC Advanced Grant Artisym 694120, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Gravitation program 024.001.035), the NWO-NSFC Advanced Materials (project 792.001.015), and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks Nanomed, (No. 676137) for funding. We thank the Ser Cymru II program for support of DSW; this project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 663830. We also thank A. F. Mason for help with Cryo-TEM measurements.
© 2021 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.
- aggregation-induced emission
- morphology engineering
- LBL assembly