Protein cages are interesting building blocks for functional supramolecular assemblies. A multi-responsive system composed of apoferritin and thermo-responsive block copolymers complexed through electrostatic interactions is described here. The polymers are linear chains with cationic and thermo-responsive blocks, and both diblock and triblock copolymers are studied. The apoferritin can be reversibly assembled and disassembled in aqueous solutions by altering the temperature and electrolyte concentration of the solutions. The control over the conditions is straightforward and all the components can be recovered, offering a potential alternative for systems requiring chemical or genetic modification of proteins.
- block copolymers
- electrostatic binding