Molecular recognition at methyl methacrylate/n-butyl acrylate (MMA/nBA) monomer unit boundaries of phospholipids at p-MMA/nBA copolymer surfaces
Lipid structural features and their interactions with proteins provide a useful vehicle for further advances in membrane proteins research. To mimic one of potential lipid-protein interactions we synthesized poly(methyl methacrylate/n-butyl acrylate) (p-MMA/nBA) colloidal particles that were stabilized by phospholipid (PLs). Upon the particle coalescence, PL stratification resulted in the formation of surface localized ionic clusters (SLICs). These entities are capable of recognizing MMA/nBA monomer interfaces along the p-MMA/nBA copolymer backbone and form crystalline SLICs at the monomer interface. By utilizing attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR FT-IR) spectroscopy and selected area electron diffraction (SAD) combined with ab initio calculations, studies were conducted that identified the origin of SLICs as well as their structural features formed on the surface of p-MMA/nBA copolymer films stabilized by 1,2-dilauroyl-sn-glycero-3-phospliocholine (DLPC) PL. Specific entities responsible for SLIC formation are selective noncovalent bonds of anionic phosphate and cationic quaternary ammonium segments of DLPC that interact with two neighboring carbonyl groups of nBA and MMA monomers of the p-MMA/nBA polymer backbone. To the best of our knowledge this is the first example of molecular recognition facilitated by coalescence of copolymer colloidal particles and the ability of PLs to form SLICs at the boundaries of the neighboring MMA and nBA monomer units of the p-MMA/nBA chain. The dominating noncovalent bonds responsible for the molecular recognition is a combination of H-bonding and electrostatic interactions.