“Divergent Self-Assembly of Block Heterochiral Stereoisomer Arrays”
Thesis lab: Jai Rudra (WashU Biomedical Engineering)
Abstract: The autonomous organization of parts into ordered architectures, or biomolecular self-assembly, is an elementary natural process that defines and guides the construction and function of living organisms. This phenomenon has emerged as a potent tool for the creation of novel biomaterials, with peptide-based approaches benefitting from intrinsic modularity, ease of de novo design and synthesis, biocompatibility, and chemical versatility. These properties enable methodical modifications that generate suprastructures with a wide variety of morphologies and functionalities, supporting a broad range of biomedical applications. Further, the chiral nature of amino acids permits synthesis of either left- or right-handed peptides; in recent years, this has advanced from complete D-substitution to the incorporation of both L- and D-residues into ‘heterochiral’ sequences. When peptides consist of multiple identical domains, segmenting chiral inversions according to these fundamental repeat units gives rise to ‘block’ heterochirality. Through combinatorial exploration of model cross-β peptides, this work furthers our understanding of chiral patterns and their powerful influence over hierarchical supramolecular assembly.
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