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ABSTRACT: We examined the antibacterial and hemolytic activities in a series of amphiphilic block and random copolymers of poly(vinyl ether) derivatives prepared by base-assisting living cationic polymerization. Block and random amphiphilic copolymers with similar monomer compositions showed the same level of activity against Escherichia coli . However, the block copolymers are much less hemolytic compared to the highly hemolytic random copolymers. These results indicate that the amphiphilic copolymer structure is a key determinant of activity. Furthermore, the block copolymers induced dye leakage from lipid vesicles consisting of E. coli -type lipids, but not mammalian lipids, while the random copolymers disrupted both types of vesicles. In addition, both copolymers displayed bactericidal and hemolytic activities at concentrations 1 or 2 orders of magnitude lower than their critical (intermolecular) aggregation concentrations (CACs), as determined by light scattering measurements. This suggests that polymer aggregation or macromolecular assembly is not a requisite for the antibacterial activity and selectivity against bacteria over human red blood cells (RBCs). We speculate that different single-chain conformations between the block and random copolymers play an important role in the antibacterial action and underlying antibacterial mechanisms.
Biomacromolecules 08/2011; 12(10):3581-91. · 5.37 Impact Factor