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Biomacromolecules. 2008 Feb;9(2):510-7. doi: 10.1021/bm701001f. Epub 2008 Jan 22.

Dynamic light scattering study of self-assembly of HPMA hybrid graft copolymers.

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Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA.


The time course of self-assembly of a hybrid hydrogel system was investigated using dynamic light scattering (DLS) techniques. The self-assembling system consisted of a hydrophilic synthetic N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide (HPMA) polymer backbone and a pair of oppositely charged peptide grafts (CCE and CCK). These two distinct pentaheptad peptides were anticipated to act as physical cross-linkers by the formation of antiparallel coiled-coil heterodimers. Equimolar mixture of HPMA graft copolymers CCE-P and CCK-P solutions (where P is the HPMA copolymer backbone) with total concentration from 1.25 to 10 mg/mL were measured at a scattering angle 90 degrees and room temperature. A critical extension of average relaxation time was observed with increasing concentration and incubation time. To reveal the role of coiled-coil grafts in the self-assembly process, a pair of modified random coil peptides, CCEw and CCKy, was designed. The DLS evaluation of HPMA copolymer conjugates (CCEw-P and CCKy-P) at total concentration of 10 mg/mL demonstrated that no association occurred after 28 h of incubation. Moreover, addition of a competing peptide (CCK) or a denaturant (guanidium chloride, GndHCl) to the self-assembled CCE-P/CCK-P hydrogels resulted in partial disassembly or collapse of the hydrogel clusters. These results correlated to changes in the secondary structure of peptides (grafts) as measured by circular dichroism spectroscopy (CD). These investigations supported the hypothesis that the self-assembly of CCE-P/CCK-P into hybrid hydrogels is mediated by the formation of coiled-coil heterodimers.

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