The design and synthesis of peptide nanotubes

Nanostructures are one of the new frontiers in chemical science, having wide potential applications in medicine, research and industry as molecular sensors, scaffolds, carriers or molecular machines. A key feature of these applications is a requirement for materials with well-defined geometries that can that can be precisely functionalised with auxiliary chemical features such as chromophores, antibodies or drugs. In addition, complex chemical behaviour such as chemical sensing or targeted drug delivery, necessitates nanostructures with complex architectures.

This project aims to design, synthesise and characterise complex nanostructures built from cyclic peptides with alternating D and L amino acids. These peptides assemble through a strong, hydrogen bonding network to create tubular structures. Such D/L cyclopeptides (CPs) are versatile building blocks for nanostructures but, to date, the physicochemical factors that control nanostructure formation in these materials have not been explored and the potential for construction of complex, heterogeneous nanostructures has not been exploited. Techniques used Molecular dynamics, solid phase peptide synthesis and analytical methods such as NMR and X-ray crystallography.

Reference 1.Chapman, R.; Danial, M.; Koh, M. L.; Jolliffe, K. A.; Perrier, S. Designand properties of functional nanotubes from the self-assembly of cyclic peptide templates. Chem Soc Rev 2012, 41 (18), 6023-41.