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Engineering macromolecular self-assembly of hyaluronan (HA)-based glycopolymers with peptides (SuprHApolymers)
Start date: Mar 1, 2014, End date: Feb 28, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Sugars and amino acids are natural building blocks which are used to form precisely regulated sequences in carbohydrates and proteins, respectively. While the field of proteomics has advanced immensely during the last past years, the field of glycomics is much less developed. The advance in synthetic polymer chemistry is allowing the possibility of controlling monomer sequences in synthetic macromolecules with diverse chemical structure providing many scientific and technological applications. “SuprHApolymers” project aims to design and synthesize glycopolymers mimicking the composition and structure of hyaluronan (HA), a linear polysaccharide composed of repeating disaccharide units of N-acetyl-glucosamine (GlcNAc) and glucuronic acid (GlcUA), but with many important biological functions. Linear glycopolymers, made solely of GlcNAc or GlcUA sugars (homopolymers) or containing both sugars (copolymers) will be synthesized to study their interaction with synthetic peptides bearing HA-binding motifs (peptide library). The synthesis of HA-based glycopopymers with branched architecture will be also attempted to explore different polymer configurations and to create optimal interactions with peptides. The self-assembly of HA glycopolymers with peptide amphiphiles containing selected HA-binding sequences will be investigated to form de novo peptide-polymer hybrid supramolecular materials with different molecular and macroscopic properties. Finally, the formed functional assemblies (nanostructures and supramolecular gels or films) will be explored for applications in synthetic biology and biomedicine.

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