Clicking synthetic and biological molecules together

Feb 19, 2008

Dutch researcher Joost Opsteen has developed a method to click polymers together in a controlled manner. Using this method, he can even attach proteins to nanoballs. For instance, this approach could be used to transport medicines in the body.

Over the past few years there has been an increasing interest in combining biopolymers, such as proteins and DNA, and synthetic polymers to create new biohybrid macromolecules. These hybrid polymers can be used in medicines, bioengineering and nanotechnology.

One of the difficulties in combining synthetic and biological polymers is that biopolymers contain a lot of functional groups, which must also retain their functionality after coupling has taken place. Consequently, chemical reactions need to be developed that are not only efficient but also highly selective about where the polymers join.

Joost Opsteen used a known coupling reaction: a reaction between azides and alkynes, with copper as the catalyst. This reaction is also referred to as “click” chemistry. Based on this reaction, he developed a method to link polymers together in a controlled manner. He attached the required azide and alkyne groups onto the ends of polymer chains. Subsequently, using copper as the catalyst he joined the synthetic polymers to each other and to the proteins.

Some polymers form nanoballs in water, a property that may be used to transport medicines in the body. Using click chemistry, proteins can be attached to these nanoballs. With this approach the nanoballs could be transported to the correct location in the body.

Source: NWO

Explore further: 'NanoSuit': Researchers use nano-coating to allow for electron microscopy of living insects

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NHL sends GoPro cameras onto the ice

1 hour ago

Ice hockey fans will get a new perspective on the fast-moving game when National Hockey League players don GoPro cameras, starting with this weekend's all-star fixture.

NASA spacecraft almost to Pluto: Smile for the camera!

1 hour ago

It's showtime for Pluto. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has traveled 3 billion miles and is nearing the end of its nine-year journey to Pluto. Sunday, it begins photographing the mysterious, unexplored, icy ...

Recommended for you

Holes in valence bands of nanodiamonds discovered

Jan 28, 2015

Nanodiamonds are tiny crystals only a few nanometers in size. While they possess the crystalline structure of diamonds, their properties diverge considerably from those of their big brothers, because their ...

Engineering self-assembling amyloid fibers

Jan 26, 2015

Nature has many examples of self-assembly, and bioengineers are interested in copying or manipulating these systems to create useful new materials or devices. Amyloid proteins, for example, can self-assemble ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.