Amphiphilic model conetworks based on cross-linked star copolymers of benzyl methacrylate and 2-(dimenthylamino)ethyl methacrylate: Synthesis, characterization, and DNA adsorption studies
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Six amphiphilic model conetworks of a new structure, that of cross-linked "in-out" star copolymers, were synthesized by the group transfer polymerization (GTP) of the hydrophobic monomer benzyl methacrylate (BzMA) and the ionizable hydrophilic monomer 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) in a one-pot preparation. The synthesis took place in tetrahydrofuran (THF) using tetrabutylammonium bibenzoate (TBABB) as the catalyst, 1-methoxy-1-(trimethylsiloxy)-2-methyl-propene (MTS) as the initiator, and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) as the cross-linker. Three heteroarm star-, two star block-, one statistical copolymer star-, and one homopolymer star-based networks were prepared. The synthesis of these star-based networks involved four to six steps, including the preparation of the linear (co)polymers, the "arm-first" and the "in-out" star copolymers, and finally the network. The precursors and the extractables were characterized using gel permeation chromatography (GPC) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy. The degrees of swelling (DSs) of all the networks were measured in THF, while the aqueous DSs were measured as a function of pH. The DSs at low pH were higher than those at neutral or high pH because of the protonation of the DMAEMA units and were found to be dependent on the structure of the network. The DSs in THF were higher than those in neutral water and were independent of the structure. Finally, DNA adsorption studies onto the networks indicated that the DNA binding was governed by electrostatics. © 2006 American Chemical Society.
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