A Novel Method for the Encapsulation of Biomolecules into Polymersomes via Direct Hydration
One of the major engineering challenges for the implementation of block copolymer vesicles, or polymersomes, as therapeutic drug carriers is obtaining high encapsulation efficiencies for biomolecules. Here we present it novel method for encapsulation of proteins with high encapsulation efficiency within polymersomes formed from block copolymers of poly(ethylene glycol)-bl-poly(propylene sulfide). By formulation of the neat block copolymer with a low molecular weight poly(ethylene glycol), direct hydration of the formulated mixture yielded polymersomes. We were able to achieve encapsulation efficiencies for ovalbumin at 37%. bovine serum albumin at 19%, and bovine gamma-globulin at 15% when the proteins were included in the hydration solution. The formulation process and the dispersion of polymersomes front the preparation in phosphate-buffered saline were characterized using confocal microscopy, cryogenic transmission electron microscopy, and fluorimetry. We were also successful in the encapsulation of proteinase K, a proteolytic enzyme, and demonstrated by SDS-PAGE that the enzyme was contained inside polymersomes when dispersed ill a solution of ovalbumin.