Title: Solid-phase synthesis of molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles for protein recognition.

Author: Jingjing XU

Date: 2017

National thesis number: 2017COMP2349


  • This thesis describes the synthesis, by a solid-phase synthesis approach, of nanoparticles of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) for the recognition of proteins. Molecularly imprinted polymers are biomimetic receptors synthesized by a nanomolding process of the polymer around single molecules. They therefore possess specific recognition cavities for their target molecule. The technique of molecular imprinting for small target molecules is well established, while protein imprinting remains a challenge due to the flexibility and complexity of their native structure and functional sites, but also because of their low stability under unusual conditions. Therefore, a solid-phase synthesis approach has been developed where the protein is immobilized on a support before the synthesis of water-soluble MIP nanogel particles by radical polymerization. The MIPs obtained have affinities comparable to those of antibodies, and low cross-reactivities. They have advantages such as better stability, lower cost, and can potentially be regenerated and reused, thus becoming promising alternatives to real antibodies. We have synthesized MIPs against serine proteases such as trypsin, and kallikrein, but also against a peptide epitope of the HIV gp41 protein. Thermosensitive MIP nanogels were synthesized in a thermostated column-type reactor or a petri dish, by thermally or photo-initiated radical polymerization. Their thermosensitivity allows the MIPs to be released from the immobilized protein by a simple temperature change. They are water-soluble as a function of temperature and have a diameter of less than 100 nm. Their affinity for their target is strong, with a Kd in the nano or picomolar range. These ‘synthetic antibodies’ have been applied in binding assays with quartz crystal microbalance, but also as ‘synthetic chaperones’. Preliminary studies of the protection of proteins from thermal denaturation or from denaturation by an unfavorable pH have been carried out. The use of an iniferter to initiate the living photopolymerization of MIP made it possible to synthesize nanogels of core-shell type. By introducing fluorescent markers into MIPs, immunoassay applications in biological fluids have been demonstrated, indicating the great potential of these MIPs in clinical diagnostics. In conclusion, we have developed a novel approach to the synthesis of soluble MIP nanoparticles having high affinity for a protein, usable in place of antibodies in real world applications such as the detection of biomarker proteins in complex samples, and potentially as an active principle in vivo

Link: 2017COMP2349

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