Antimicrobial hyperbranched polymer-usnic acid complexes through a combined ROP-RAFT strategy

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  • Pennsylvania State University


Polymer-drug conjugates have received considerable attention over the last decades due to their potential for improving the clinical outcomes for a range of diseases. It is of importance to develop methods for their preparation that have simple synthesis and purification requirements but maintain high therapeutic efficacy and utilize macromolecules that can be cleared via natural excretory pathways upon breakdown. Herein, the combination of ring-opening polymerization (ROP) and reversible addition-fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerization is described for the straightforward synthesis of amphiphilic, stimuli-responsive, biodegradable, and highly functionalizable hyperbranched polymers. These unimolecular nanoparticles demonstrate a versatile platform for the synthesis of polymer-drug conjugates owing to the inclusion of a Boc-protected polycarbonate moiety in either a block or random copolymer formation. A proof-of-concept study on the complexation of the poorly water-soluble antimicrobial drug usnic acid results in polymer-drug complexes with powerful antimicrobial properties against gram-positive bacteria. Therefore, this work highlights the potential of amphiphilic and biodegradable hyperbranched polymers for antimicrobial applications.

Bibliographic note

© 2020 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2000190
Number of pages7
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Early online date13 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2020


  • antimicrobials, drug complexation, hyperbranched polymers, nanoparticles, ring opening polymerization