b. Hydrogels from amphiphilic scpDNA

The hydrogels above rely on cross-linking by Watson-Crick base pairing. However, one can also achieve cross-linking by hydrophobic interactions. For that purpose linear amphiphilic DNA diblock copolymers will be employed with the hydrophobic polymer units attached to the 5’- and 3’-ends. Moreover, their molecular parameters will be adjusted so that spherical micelles are formed. The conversion into hydrogels cross-linked by hydrophobic interactions will then be achieved by hybridization with sequences that are complementary to the DNA segments of the two diblock copolymers forcing the hydrophobic polymer units in opposite directions of the central double helix (Figure below). A similar strategy was employed by our group to transform spherical micelles into rod-like DBC aggregates.(Ding K, Alemdaroglu FE, Boersch M, Berger R, Herrmann A, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.  46 (7): 1172-1175 2007) Disassembly will be achieved by dehybridization induced e.g. by electrolysis of water at the electrodes of the microfluidic devices.

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DNA hydrogels induced by hydrophobic interactions.