Synthesis and characterisation of imprinted polymeric receptor mimics
Molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) are crosslinked polymers containing bespoke functionalised cavities arising from the inclusion of template molecules in the polymerisation mixture and their later extraction. When the polymers are prepared functional polymerisable monomers are included which become part of the polymer matrix and serve to decorate the cavities with functionality appropriate to the template molecules. Overall, binding sites are created which have a memory for the template both in terms of shape and matching functionality. Fluorescent molecularly imprinted polymers have the benefit of a fluorophore in their cavities that may respond to the presence of bound test compound by a change in their fluorescence output. The work presented falls into three main areas. A series of fluorescent MIPs was prepared with a view to generating material capable of mimicking the binding characteristics of the metabolically important cytochrome isoform CYP2D6. The MIPs re-bound their templates and various cross-reactivities were encountered for test compound/drug recognition. One MIP in particular exhibited a rational discrimination amongst the related synthetic templates and was reasonably successful in recognising CYP2D6 substrates from the drug set tested. In order to give some insights into binding modes in MIPs, attempts were made to produce functional monomers containing two or more fluorophores that could be interrogated independently. A model compound was prepared which fitted the dual-fluorophore criteria and which will be the basis for future incorporation into MIPs. A further strand to this thesis is the deliberate incorporation of hydrophobic moieties into fluorescent functional monomers so that the resulting imprinted cavities might be biomimetic in their impersonation of enzyme active sites. Thus the imprinted cavities had specific hydrophobic regions as well as the usual polar functionality with which to interact with binding test compounds.