Synthesis of polypeptides via bioinspired polymerization of in situ purified N-carboxyanhydrides.


Department of Chemistry, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269; [Email] [Email]


Ribozymes synthesize proteins in a highly regulated local environment to minimize side reactions caused by various competing species. In contrast, it is challenging to prepare synthetic polypeptides from the polymerization of N-carboxyanhydrides (NCAs) in the presence of water and impurities, which induce monomer degradations and chain terminations, respectively. Inspired by natural protein synthesis, we herein report the preparation of well-defined polypeptides in the presence of competing species, by using a water/dichloromethane biphasic system with macroinitiators anchored at the interface. The impurities are extracted into the aqueous phase in situ, and the localized macroinitiators allow for NCA polymerization at a rate which outpaces water-induced side reactions. Our polymerization strategy streamlines the process from amino acids toward high molecular weight polypeptides with low dispersity by circumventing the tedious NCA purification and the demands for air-free conditions, enabling low-cost, large-scale production of polypeptides that has potential to change the paradigm of polypeptide-based biomaterials.


N-carboxyanhydride,bioinspired polymerization,in situ purification,polypeptide,segregation,