ABSTRACT: The helical and tubular structures self-assembled from proteins have inspired scientists to design synthetic building blocks that can be "polymerized" into supramolecular polymers through coordinated noncovalent interactions. However, cooperative supramolecular polymerization from large, synthetic macromolecules remains a challenge because of the difficulty of controlling the structure and interactions of macromolecular monomers. Herein we report the synthesis of polypeptide-grafted comb polymers and the use of their tunable secondary interactions in solution to achieve controlled supramolecular polymerization. The resulting tubular supramolecular structures, with external diameters of hundreds of nanometers and lengths of tens of micrometers, are stable and resemble to some extent biological superstructures assembled from proteins. This study shows that highly specific intermolecular interactions between macromolecular monomers can enable the cooperative growth of supramolecular polymers. The general applicability of this strategy was demonstrated by carrying out supramolecular polymerization from gold nanoparticles grafted with the same polypeptides on the surface.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 08/2011; 133(33):12906-9. · 9.91 Impact Factor