By Luxene Belfleur
Figure 1. Kekule structure of and synthesis of ELP 2 and 3. Cartoon representation of ELPs solution, the LCST behavior and measurement of ELPs
In this article, the authors reported the LCST modulation of Elastin-like polymers (ELP) by the modification towards oxidation reactions of the methionine thioester group of the ELP 1 to form sulfoxide and sulfone ELPs derivatives 2 and 3 respectively (Figure 1). They isolated ELP 1 from plasmid DNA of E.coli bacteria and purified it by SDS-Page. In acidic media, using 30% hydrogen peroxide and 1% of acetic acid or formic acid in water, they obtained ELP derivatives 2 and 3 respectively and the molecular weight and structural elucidation of ELP 1 and its derivatives 2 and 3 had been examined and confirmed by mass spectrometry and NMR respectively.
They performed turbidity experiments to determine the cloud points of those three ELPs. As expected, both ELP derivatives 2 and 3 had a higher LCST behavior (55 °C and 43 °C for 2 and 3 respectively) compared to ELP 1 which is 25 °C (Figure 1). This is due to the increasing of water solubility of the modified ELPs (2 and 3), which required more energy to break the interaction between water and them (ELP 2 and 3) in order to evacuate the hydration shell around these ELPs and favored the collapse of the letters. Moreover, it was expected that ELP 3 would have a higher cloud point than the ELP 2 counterpart, however, this was not the case because the large dipole moment of ELP 3 favored intramolecular and intermolecular interactions between them and the protein respectively which promoted a decrease of the water solubility. They evaluated the influence of the I¯ and NO3¯ anions on the phase transition of the three ELPs and found that those anions had no significant effect on the LCST point of the ELP 1 while I¯ increased the LCST of ELP 2 and NO3¯ decreased the solubility of ELP 3 in agreement with the Hofmeister series effect.
They reported an interesting and straightforward work by turning the LCST behavior of ELPs towards synthetic modification. This work has inspired and motivated my team for designing and synthesizing sulfoxides and sulfones containing guanosine derivatives in order to both, stabilize the thioester containing guanosine derivatives compounds that we synthesize, and modulate the LCST properties of the SGQs that will be made from oxidizing 8ArG derivatives product.