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Interface Focus. 2017 Dec 6;7(6):20160116. doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2016.0116. Epub 2017 Oct 20.

Self-assembly of nucleopeptides to interact with DNAs.

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Department of Chemistry, Brandeis University, 415 South Street, Waltham, MA 02454, USA.


As a novel class of biomaterials, nucleopeptides, via the conjugation of nucleobases and peptides, usually self-assemble to form nanofibres driven mainly by hydrogen bonds. Containing nucleobase(s), nucleopeptides have a unique property-interacting with nucleic acids. Here we report the design and characterization of nucleopeptides that self-assemble in water and are able to interact with single-stranded DNAs (ssDNAs). Containing nucleobases on their side chains, these nucleopeptides bind with the ssDNAs, and the ssDNAs reciprocally affect the self-assembly of nucleopeptides. In addition, the interactions between nucleopeptides and ssDNAs also decrease their proteolytic resistance against proteinase K, which further demonstrates the binding with ssDNAs. The nucleopeptides also interact with plasmid DNA and deliver hairpin DNA into cells. This work illustrates a new and rational approach to create soft biomaterials by the integration of nucleobases and peptides to bind with DNA, which may lead to the development of nucleopeptides for controlling DNA in cells.


DNA; interaction; nucleopeptide; self-assembly; side chain

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