Enzyme-triggered cascade reactions and assembly of abiotic block copolymers into micellar nanostructures

Jingyi Rao, Christine Hottinger, Anzar Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Catalytic action of an enzyme is shown to transform a non-assembling block copolymer, composed of a completely non-natural repeat unit structure, into a self-assembling polymer building block. To achieve this, poly(styrene) is combined with an enzyme-sensitive methacrylate-based polymer segment carrying carefully designed azobenzene side chains. Once exposed to the enzyme azoreductase, in the presence of coenzyme NADPH, the azobenzene linkages undergo a bond scission reaction. This triggers a spontaneous 1,6-self-elimination cascade process and transforms the initially hydrophobic methacrylate polymer segment into a hydrophilic hydroxyethyl methacrylate structure. This change in chemical polarity of one of the polymer blocks confers an amphiphilic character to the diblock copolymer and permits it to self-assemble into a micellar nanostructure in water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5872-5875
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Apr 23

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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