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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2005 Dec;9(6):656-64. Epub 2005 Nov 2.

Dendrimers as artificial enzymes.

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Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Berne, Freiestrasse 3, 3012 Berne, Switzerland.


Dendrimers are regular tree-like macromolecules accessible by chemical synthesis from a variety of building blocks. Their topology enforces a globular shape that offers a unique opportunity to design artificial enzymes. Catalytic groups such as metal complexes and cofactors can be placed at the dendrimer core to exploit microenvironment and selectivity effects of the dendritic shell. In a second approach, attaching catalytic groups in multiple copies at the end of the dendritic branches may lead to cooperativity effects. Finally, exploration of dendritic structural space by screening combinatorial libraries of peptide dendrimers for catalytic activity can lead to discovery of functional dendrimers with enzyme-like properties, in a process mimicking natural selection.

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