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Self-Assembling Nonconjugated Poly(amide-imide) into Thermoresponsive Nanovesicles with Unexpected Red Fluorescence for Bioimaging

Yan, Jun-Jie, Wang, Xin-Yu, Wang, Meng-Zhen, Pan, Dong-Hui, Yang, Run-Lin, Xu, Yu-Ping, Wang, Li-Zhen, Yang, Min
Biomacromolecules 2019 v.20 no.3 pp. 1455-1463
biocompatibility, fluorescence, fluorescent dyes, hydrogen bonding, hydrophobic bonding, image analysis, photostability, polymers, solvents
Nonconjugated red fluorescent polymers have been increasingly studied to improve the biocompatibility and penetration depth over conventional fluorescent materials. However, the accessibility of such polymers remains challenging due to the scarcity of nonconjugated fluorophores and lacking relevant mechanism of red-shifted fluorescence. Herein, we discovered that the combination of hydrogen bonding and π–π stacking interactions provides nonconjugated poly(amide-imide) with a large bathochromic shift (>100 nm) from blue-green fluorescence to red emission. The amphiphilic PEGylated poly(amide-imide) derived from in situ PEGylation self-assembled into nanovesicles in water, which isolated the aminosuccinimide fluorophore from the solvents and suppressed the hydrogen bonds formation between aminosuccinimide fluorophores and water. Therefore, the fluorescence of PEGylated poly(amide-imide) in water was soundly retained. Furthermore, the strong hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions with water provided PEGylated poly(amide-imide) with a reversible thermoresponsiveness and presented a concentration-dependent behavior. Finally, accompanied by the excellent biostability and photostability, PEGylated poly(amide-imide) exhibited as a good candidate for cell imaging.