Summary: Monte Carlo simulation of protein-imprinted polymer gels using radical polymerization
Liora Levi and Simcha Srebnik
Department of Chemical Engineering, Technion Israel Institute of Technology
Molecular imprinting allows the creation of artificial recognition sites in synthetic polymers.
The imprinted polymers are formed by cross-linking in the presence of a template molecule. Removal
of the templates leaves cavities that fit the template molecules in size, shape and functionality.
Although this technique has been shown to be effective when targeting small molecules, all attempts
to extend it to larger template molecules, such as proteins, have failed to show similar success. As
opposed to small molecules, proteins are characterized by large size, flexible structure, and large
number of functional groups available for recognition. These characteristics make it impossible to use
imprinting procedures of small molecules for protein imprinting.
The potential applications of protein imprinted polymers (PIPs) make them an attractive topic
of research. PIPs allow the creation of artificial biological receptors, which may offer a cost-effective
alternative to existing biological recognition techniques such as monoclonal antibodies. Moreover, by
mimicking natural processes, these artificial receptors can potentially be used in medical diagnostic
applications and clinical analyses. However, in order to plan new imprinting strategies for proteins,
one must reveal the problematic points in the polymerization process of the current methods, which
result in low imprinting efficiency.
Using molecular simulations we focus on the molecular processes that affect imprinting. In