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A Water-Soluble Organic Photocatalyst Discovered for Highly Efficient Additive-Free Visible-Light-Driven Grafting of Polymers from Proteins at Ambient and Aqueous Environments

Cited 19 time in Web of Science Cited 22 time in Scopus

Lee, Yungyeong; Kwon, Yonghwan; Kim, Youngmu; Yu, Changhoon; Feng, Siyang; Park, Jeehun; Doh, Junsang; Wannemacher, Reinhold; Koo, Byungjin; Gierschner, Johannes; Kwon, Min Sang

Issue Date
WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Advanced Materials, Vol.34 No.14, p. 2108446
Since the pioneering discovery of a protein bound to poly(ethylene glycol), the utility of protein-polymer conjugates (PPCs) is rapidly expanding to currently emerging applications. Photoinduced energy/electron-transfer reversible addition-fragmentation chain-transfer (PET-RAFT) polymerization is a very promising method to prepare structurally well-defined PPCs, as it eliminates high-cost and time-consuming deoxygenation processes due to its oxygen tolerance. However, the oxygen-tolerance behavior of PET-RAFT polymerization is not well-investigated in aqueous environments, and thereby the preparation of PPCs using PET-RAFT polymerization needs a substantial amount of sacrificial reducing agents or inert-gas purging processes. Herein a novel water-soluble and biocompatible organic photocatalyst (PC) is reported, which enables visible-light-driven additive-free "grafting-from" polymerizations of a protein in ambient and aqueous environments. Interestingly, the developed PC shows unconventional "oxygen-acceleration" behavior for a variety of acrylic and acrylamide monomers in aqueous conditions without any additives, which are apparently distinct from previously reported systems. With such a PC, "grafting-from" polymerizations are successfully performed from protein in ambient buffer conditions under green light-emitting diode (LED) irradiation, which result in various PPCs that have neutral, anionic, cationic, and zwitterionic polyacrylates, and polyacrylamides. It is believed that this PC will be widely employed for a variety of photocatalysis processes in aqueous environments, including the living cell system.
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