Nanoscale force sensors to study supramolecular systems

E.H. Cingil

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Supramolecular systems are solutions, suspensions or solids, formed by physical and non-covalent interactions. These weak and dynamic bonds drive molecular self-assembly in nature, leading to formation of complex ordered structures in high precision. Understanding self-assembly and co-assembly is crucial to unravel and mimic many processes occurring in nature. However, the challenge cannot be easily addressed especially in biological systems as it involves many dynamic interactions which may cooperatively, noncooperatively or competitively generate a complex manifold of interaction pathways. In this thesis, we employed two techniques to understand these complex interactions in various supramolecular systems at the nanoscale 1) multiple particle tracking microrheology to study thermoreversible assembly of triple helices in a collagen-inspired recombinant polypeptide in the form of a triblock copolymer gel former; and 2) polyfluorene-based conjugated polyelctrolyte mechosensors to monitor electrostatic co-assembly dynamics  of (i) a recombinant diblock copolypeptide which encapsulates the conjugated polyelectrolyte like a protein capsid and (ii) various synthetic diblock copolymers which forms complex coacervate micelles; and finally the orthogonal self-assembly dynamics of (iii) a recombinant viral coat protein which mimics natural rod-like viruses. These novel polymeric mechanosensors work as versatile, non-invasive tools to detect even low degrees of analyte binding or complex formation due to the stress applied on their conjugated backbone. This mechanical stress causes the polymeric backbone to stretch which can be detected by a shift in its fluorescence spectra.     

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Cohen Stuart, Martien, Promotor
  • Sprakel, Joris, Co-promotor
Award date26 Apr 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789462576971
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • sensors
  • supramolecular chemistry
  • molecules
  • biopolymers
  • polymers
  • methodology
  • rheology

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