Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


Chemistry and Biochemistry



First Advisor

Qian Wang


Developing efficient strategies to introduce biomolecules around polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) is critical for targeted delivery of therapeutic or diagnostic agents. Although polymeric NPs have been well established, problems such as toxicity, stability, and immunoresistance remain potential concerns. The first part of this dissertation focuses on the development of nanosized targeted drug delivery vehicle in cancer chemotherapy. The vehicle was created by the self-assembly of folate-grafted filamentous bacteriophage M13 with poly(caprolactone-b-2-vinylpyridine) while doxorubicin, the antitumor drugs, was successfully loaded in the interior of the vehicles. These particles offer unique properties of being able to selectively target tumor cells while appearing to be safe and non-toxic to normal cells. Although they have shown great prospects in many biomedical applications, less is known about the interactions between biomolecules and polymers.

The next part of the dissertation focuses on the self-assembly of proteins and polymers to create polymer-protein core-shell nanoparticles (PPCS-NPs). Several proteins with different isoelectric points and molecular weights were employed to demonstrate a versatility of our assembly method while a series of esterified derivatives of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA) were synthesized to evaluate the interaction between proteins and polymers. Our data indicated that the polymers containing pyridine residues can successfully assemble with proteins, and the mechanism is mainly governed by hydrogen bonding and the hydrophobic/hydrophilic interactions. This in turn helps retaining proteins' folding conformation and functionality, which are also demonstrated in the in vitro/in vivo cellular uptake of the PPCS-NPs in endothelial cells.

The last part of the dissertation focuses on the self-assembly of the bienzyme-polymer NPs. Glucose oxidase (GOX) together with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) were employed to construct bienzyme-NPs. GOX was initially used as a model enzyme to assemble with pyridine-modified pHEMA, and its enzymatic activity was shown to increase after self-assembly. When both GOX and HRP were assembled with the polymers, the activity was shown to be even greater than that of the single enzyme-polymer NPs or a free enzyme. The results indicated that NPs enhance enzymatic activity, likely due to an increase in enzyme localization, and the assembly between GOX and polymers might prevent conformational transitions of these enzymes.