Conformational Studies of Globular Proteomimetic Brush Polymers of Structured and Unstructured Peptides

20 May 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Peptide-brush polymers generated by graft-through living polymerization of peptide-modified monomers exhibit high proteolytic stability, therapeutic efficacy, and potential as functional tandem repeat protein mimetics. Prior work has focused on polymers generated from structurally disordered peptides that lack defined conformations. To obtain insight into how the structure of these polymers is influenced by the folding of their peptide sidechains, a set of polymers with varying degrees of polymerization was prepared from peptide monomers that adopt α-helical secondary structure for comparison to those having random coil structures. Circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy confirm the maintenance of the secondary structure of the constituent peptide when polymerized. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) studies reveal the solution-phase conformation of PLPs in different solvent environments. In particular, X-ray scattering shows that modulation of solvent hydrophobicity, as well as hydrogen bonding patterns of the peptide sidechain, plays an important role in the degree of globularity and conformation of the overall polymer, with polymers of helical peptide brushes showing less spherical compaction in conditions where greater helicity is observed. These structural insights into peptide brush folding and polymer conformation inform the design of these proteomimetic materials with promise for controlling and predicting their artificial fold and morphology.


Peptide folding
Brush polymer conformation
Peptide brush polymer
Peptide materials

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Supporting information, including methods and additional data.


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