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      Polymer mimics of biomacromolecular antifreezes

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          Abstract

          Antifreeze proteins from polar fish species are remarkable biomacromolecules which prevent the growth of ice crystals. Ice crystal growth is a major problem in cell/tissue cryopreservation for transplantation, transfusion and basic biomedical research, as well as technological applications such as icing of aircraft wings. This review will introduce the rapidly emerging field of synthetic macromolecular (polymer) mimics of antifreeze proteins. Particular focus is placed on designing polymers which have no structural similarities to antifreeze proteins but reproduce the same macroscopic properties, potentially by different molecular-level mechanisms. The application of these polymers to the cryopreservation of donor cells is also introduced.

          Abstract

          Ice crystal growth is a major problem in cell and tissue cryopreservation for transplantation, transfusion, icing of aircraft wings and many other applications. Here the authors review the emerging field of synthetic macromolecular mimics of antifreeze proteins that can be used overcome such problems.

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          Most cited references 102

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          The convergence of synthetic organic and polymer chemistries.

          Several recent conceptual advances, which take advantage of the design criteria and practical techniques of molecular-level control in organic chemistry, allow preparation of well-defined polymers and nanostructured materials. Two trends are clear: the realization that synthesis of complex macromolecules poses major challenges and opportunities and the expectation that such materials will exhibit distinctive properties and functions. Polymer synthesis methods now being developed will yield well-defined synthetic macromolecules that are capable of mimicking many of the features of proteins (for example, three-dimensional folded structure) and other natural materials. These macromolecules have far-reaching potential for the study of molecular-level behavior at interfaces, in thin films, and in solution, while also enabling the development of encapsulation, drug-delivery, and nanoscale-patterning technologies.
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            Adsorption inhibition as a mechanism of freezing resistance in polar fishes.

            Polar fishes are known to have serum proteins and glycoproteins that protect them from freezing, by a noncolligative process. Measurements of antifreeze concentrations in ice and scanning electron micrographs of freeze-dried antifreeze solutions indicate that the antifreezes are incorporated in ice during freezing. The antifreezes also have a pronounced effect on the crystal habit of ice grown in their presence. Each of four antifreezes investigated caused ice to grow in long needles whose axes were parallel to the ice c axis. Together these results indicate the antifreezes adsorb to ice surfaces and inhibit their growth. A model in which adsorbed antifreezes raise the curvature of growth steps on the ice surface is proposed to account for the observed depression of the temperature at which freezing occurs and agrees well with experimental observations. The model is similar to one previously proposed for other cases of crystal growth inhibition.
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              Unexpected low-dose toxicity of the universal solvent DMSO.

              Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) is an important aprotic solvent that can solubilize a wide variety of otherwise poorly soluble polar and nonpolar molecules. This, coupled with its apparent low toxicity at concentrations 1% (v/v), using annexin V, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL), 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), and AlamarBlue cell viability assays. DMSO concentrations >10% (v/v) have recently been reported to cause cellular toxicity through plasma membrane pore formation. Here, we show the mechanism by which low concentrations (2-4% DMSO) induce caspase-3 independent neuronal death that involves apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) translocation from mitochondria to the nucleus and poly-(ADP-ribose)-polymerase (PARP) activation. These results highlight safety concerns of using low concentrations of DMSO as a solvent for in vivo administration and in biological assays. We recommend that methods other than DMSO are employed for solubilizing drugs but, where no alternative exists, researchers compute absolute DMSO final concentrations and include an untreated control group in addition to DMSO vehicle control to check for solvent toxicity.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                m.i.gibson@warwick.ac.uk
                Journal
                Nat Commun
                Nat Commun
                Nature Communications
                Nature Publishing Group UK (London )
                2041-1723
                16 November 2017
                16 November 2017
                2017
                : 8
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0000 8809 1613, GRID grid.7372.1, Department of Chemistry, , University of Warwick, ; Coventry, CV4 7AL UK
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0000 8809 1613, GRID grid.7372.1, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, ; Coventry, CV4 7AL UK
                Article
                1421
                10.1038/s41467-017-01421-7
                5688100
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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