Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Tuning Net Charge in Aliphatic Polycarbonates Alters Solubility and Protein Complexation Behavior



Nicholas D. Posey, Julia Danischewski, Michael Lueckheide, Yuanchi Ma, Jeffrey Fagan, Vivek Prabhu


A synthetic strategy yielded polyelectrolytes and polyampholytes with tunable net charge for complexation and protein binding. Organocatalytic ring-opening polymerizations yielded aliphatic polycarbonates that were functionalized with both carboxylate and ammonium side chains in a post-polymerization, radical-mediated thiol−ene reaction. Incorporating net charge into the polymer architecture altered the chain dimensions in phosphate buffered solution in a manner consistent with selfcomplexation and complexation behavior with model proteins. A net cationic polyampholyte with 5% of carboxylate side chains formed large clusters rather than small complexes with bovine serum albumin, while 50% carboxylate polyampholyte was insoluble. Overall, the aliphatic polycarbonates with varying net charge exhibited different macrophase solution behaviors when mixed with protein, where self-complexation appears to compete with protein binding and larger-scale complexation.


aliphatic polycarbonates, polyampholytes, small angle neutron scattering, dynamic light scattering, polymer/protein complexes, self-coacervation


Posey, N. , Danischewski, J. , Lueckheide, M. , Ma, Y. , Fagan, J. and Prabhu, V. (2021), Tuning Net Charge in Aliphatic Polycarbonates Alters Solubility and Protein Complexation Behavior, ACS Ω, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created August 26, 2021, Updated March 2, 2022