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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Nov 28;134(47):19463-7. doi: 10.1021/ja308620h. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

Tandem catalysis for the preparation of cylindrical polypeptide brushes.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


Here, we report a method for synthesis of cylindrical copolypeptide brushes via N-carboxyanhydride (NCA) polymerization utilizing a new tandem catalysis approach that allows preparation of brushes with controlled segment lengths in a straightforward, one-pot procedure requiring no intermediate isolation or purification steps. To obtain high-density brush copolypeptides, we used a "grafting from" approach where alloc-α-aminoamide groups were installed onto the side chains of NCAs to serve as masked initiators. These groups were inert during cobalt-initiated NCA polymerization and gave allyloxycarbonyl-α-aminoamide-substituted polypeptide main chains. The alloc-α-aminoamide groups were then activated in situ using nickel to generate initiators for growth of side-chain brush segments. This use of stepwise tandem cobalt and nickel catalysis was found to be an efficient method for preparation of high-chain-density, cylindrical copolypeptide brushes, where both the main chains and side chains can be prepared with controlled segment lengths.

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