Chemoselective cross-linking and functionalization of alginate via Staudinger ligation

Kerim M. Gattás-Asfura, Cherie L. Stabler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


In this study, we demonstrate the applicability of functionalized alginate to serve as a platform for the covalent cross-linking or immobilization of complementary phosphine functionalized groups via the chemoselective Staudinger ligation scheme. Azide groups were covalently linked to alginate through a heterobifunctional polyethylene glycol (PEG) linker and carbodiimide. Degree of azide functionalization was varied as a function of carbodiimide concentration and determined by proton nuclear magnetic resonance ( 1H NMR) and infrared spectroscopy. Spontaneous and covalently cross-linked alginate-PEG gels were generated via the Staudinger ligation scheme upon incubation of the azide functionalized alginate with PEG chains having 1-methyl-2- diphenylphosphinoterephthalate (MDT) as end groups. Modulation of the MDT to N 3 ratio resulted in variability of gel characteristics. In addition, azide functionalized alginate retained its capacity to instantaneously form hydrogels via electrostatic interaction with multivalent cations such as Ca 2+ and Ba 2+. Subsequently, covalent linkage of phosphine functionalized agents postgelation of the alginate was feasible, as illustrated via linkage of MDT-PEG-carboxyfluorescein. Capitalization of the chemoselective and cell compatible Staudinger ligation scheme for covalent cross-linking of alginate hydrogels may enhance the utility of this polymer for the stable encapsulation of various cell types, in addition to their use in the immobilization of labeling agents, proteins, and other bioactive molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3122-3129
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 9 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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