Thiol-functionalized shell crosslinked knedel-like (SCK) nanoparticles: a versatile entry for their conjugation with biomacromolecules Academic Article uri icon


  • Shell crosslinked knedel-like (SCK) nanoparticles were prepared having thiol-terminated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) chains extending throughout their shell layers and were then conjugated with bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a model biomacromolecule. The SCKs originated from amphiphilic block copolymers of acrylic acid and styrene, PAA(66)-b-PS(71), pre-functionalized with ca. five mono-tBoc-protected diamino PEG(32) per polymer chain, which then had undergone deprotection and amidation with N-Succinimidyl-S-acetylthiohexanionate to introduce an acetyl-protected thiol chain terminus on the end of each PEG graft. Assembly of these amphiphilic graft block copolymers into micelles, by transitioning from N,N-dimethylformamide to water, was followed by amidation-based crosslinking throughout the shell layer, with the introduction of 2,2'-(ethylenedioxy)-bis(ethylamine) and 1-(3'-dimethylaminopropyl)-3-ethylcarbodiimide methiodide, to afford SCKs bearing the acetyl-protected thiol groups. Deprotection in aqueous buffer solution by reaction with hydroxylamine hydrochloride gave the SCKs presenting a nominal number of ca. 750 thiols per nanoparticle. The solution was assayed by Ellman's method resulting in a concentration of 55 ± 6 µM [HS], theoretical concentration 58 µM [HS], after which the coupling with BSA was performed immediately. Tetramethylrhodamine-labeled, maleimido-functionalized BSA was allowed to react with the thiol-functionalized SCKs at stoichiometries of ca. 10, 20 and 30 BSAs/SCK, after which UV-vis spectroscopy and Bradford's assay determined a coupling efficiency of >50-60%. The SCK particle diameters were measured by TEM to be 16 nm and 20 nm and their hydrodynamic diameters were measured by dynamic light scattering to be 20 nm and 30 nm, before and after BSA conjugation, respectively.

author list (cited authors)

  • Nyström, A. M., & Wooley, K. L.

citation count

  • 31

publication date

  • September 2008