Nanopatterning of Recombinant Proteins and Viruses Using Block Copolymer Templates

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The study of interfaces is important in understanding biological interactions, including cellular signaling and virus infection. This thesis is an original effort to examine the interaction between a block copolymer and both a protein and a virus. Block copolymers intrinsically form nanometer-scale structures over large areas without expensive processing, making them ideal for the synthesis of the nanopatterned surfaces used in this study. The geometry of these nanostructures can be easily tuned for different applications by altering the block ratio and composition of the block copolymer. Block copolymers can be used for controlled uptake of metal ions, where one block selectively binds metal ions while the other does not. 5-norbornene-2,3-dicarboxylic acid is synthesized through ringopening metathesis polymerization. It formed spherical domains with spheres approximately 30 nm in diameter, and these spheres were then subsequently loaded with nickel ion. This norbornene block copolymer was tested for its ability to bind histidine-tagged green fluorescent protein (hisGFP), and it was found that the nickel-loaded copolymer was able to retain hisGFP through chelation between the histidine tag and the metal-containing portions of the copolymer surface. Poly(styrene-b-4-vinylpyridine) (PS/P4VP) was also loaded with nickel, forming a cylindrical microstructure. The binding of Tobacco mosaic virus and Tobacco necrosis virus was tested through Tween 20 detergent washes. Electron microscopy allowed for observation of both block copolymer nanostructures and virus particles. Results showed that Tween washes could not remove bound Tobacco mosaic virus from the surface of PS/P4VP. It was also seen that The size and tunability of block copolymers and the lack of processing needed to attain different structures makes them attractive for many applications, including microfluidic devices, surfaces to influence cellular signaling and growth, and as a nanopatterning surface for organized adhesion.