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Science. 2001 Jul 27;293(5530):676-80.

beta -Helical polymers from isocyanopeptides.

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Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Nijmegen, Toernooiveld 1, 6525 ED Nijmegen, Netherlands.


Polymerization of isocyanopeptides results in the formation of high molecular mass polymers that fold in a proteinlike fashion to give helical strands in which the peptide chains are arranged in beta-sheets. The beta-helical polymers retain their structure in water and unfold in a cooperative process at elevated temperatures. The peptide architecture in these polymers is a different form of the beta-helix motif found in proteins. Unlike their natural counterparts, which contain arrays of large beta-sheets stacked in a helical fashion, the isocyanopeptide polymers have a central helical core that acts as a director for the beta-sheet-like arrangement of the peptide side arms. The helical structure of these isocyanopeptide polymers has the potential to be controlled through tailoring of the side branches and the hydrogen-bonding network present in the beta-sheets.

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