In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (31)

Articles by Ronald N. Zuckermann in JoVE

Other articles by Ronald N. Zuckermann on PubMed

Extreme Stability of Helices Formed by Water-soluble Poly-N-substituted Glycines (polypeptoids) with Alpha-chiral Side Chains

Biopolymers. Jan, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11754344

Poly-N-substituted glycines or "peptoids" are protease-stable peptide mimics. Although the peptoid backbone is achiral and lacks hydrogen-bond donors, substitution with alpha-chiral side chains can drive the formation of stable helices that give rise to intense CD spectra. To systematically study the solution properties and stability of water-soluble peptoid helices with alpha-chiral side chains, we have synthesized and characterized an amphipathic, 36-residue N-substituted glycine oligomer. CD was used to investigate effects of concentration and solvent environment on this helical peptoid. We saw no significant dependence of helical structure on concentration. Intense, "alpha-helix-like" CD spectra were observed for the 36-mer in aqueous, 2,2,2-trifluorethanol (TFE), and methanol solution, proving a relative insensitivity of peptoid helical structure to solvent environment. While CD spectra taken in these different solvents were fundamentally similar in shape, we did observe some interesting differences in the intensities of particular CD bands in the various solvents. For example, the addition of TFE to an aqueous solvent increases the degree of peptoid helicity, as is observed for polypeptide alpha-helices. Moreover, the helical structure of peptoids appears to be virtually unaffected by heat, even in an aqueous buffer containing 8 M urea. The extraordinary resistance of these peptoid helices to denaturation is consistent with a dominant role of steric forces in their structural stabilization. The structured polypeptoids studied here may have potential as robust mimics of helical polypeptides of therapeutic interest.

Toward the Synthesis of Artificial Proteins: the Discovery of an Amphiphilic Helical Peptoid Assembly

Chemistry & Biology. May, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12031671

While nature exploits folded biopolymers to achieve molecular recognition and catalysis, comparable abiological heteropolymer systems have been difficult to create. We synthesized and identified abiological peptoid heteroploymers capable of binding a dye. Using combinatorial synthesis, we constructed a library of 3400 amphiphilic 15-mer peptoids on an ultra-high-capacity beaded support. Individual macrobeads, each containing a single peptoid sequence, were arrayed into plates, cleaved, and screened in aqueous solution to locate dye binding heteropolymer assemblies. Resynthesis and characterization demonstrated the formation of defined helical assemblies as judged by size-exclusion chromatography, circular dichroism, and analytical ultracentrifugation. Inspired by nature's process of sequence variation and natural selection, we identified rare abiological sequence-specific heteropolymers that begin to mimic the structure and functional properties of their biological counterparts.

Incorporation of Unprotected Heterocyclic Side Chains into Peptoid Oligomers Via Solid-phase Submonomer Synthesis

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Jul, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12862480

Peptoids (N-substituted glycines) are an important class of biomimetic oligomers that have made a significant impact in the areas of combinatorial drug discovery, gene therapy, drug delivery, and biopolymer folding in recent years. Sequence-specific peptoid oligomers are easily assembled from primary amines by the solid-phase submonomer method. However, most amines that contain heterocyclic nitrogens in the side chain do not incorporate efficiently. We present here a straightforward revision of the submonomer method that allows efficient incorporation of unprotected imidazoles, pyridines, pyrazines, indoles, and quinolines into oligomers as long as 15 monomers in length. This improved method uses chloroacetic acid instead of bromoacetic acid in the acylation step of the monomer addition cycle, and allows for the incorporation of new side chains that should enable the synthesis of peptoids with entirely new properties.

Structure/function Analysis of Peptoid/lipitoid:DNA Complexes

Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Sep, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12950008

Previous transfection studies of cationic peptoid polymers (N-substituted polyglycines) and cationic lipitoid polymers (peptoid-phospholipid conjugates) have shown that only the polymers which possessed a repeating (cationic, hydrophobic, hydrophobic) substituent sequence are efficient in gene transfer in vitro. To determine if there is a physical attribute of peptoid and lipitoid complexes that correlates with efficient gene transfection, biophysical, and transfection measurements were performed with polymer:DNA complexes containing each of seven structurally diverse peptoid polymers and two lipitoids that possess different hydrophobic substituents. These measurements revealed that the biophysical properties of these complexes (size, zeta-potential, ethidium bromide exclusion) varied with polymer structure and complex (+/-) charge ratio but were not directly predictive of transfection efficiency. Unique alterations in the circular dichroism spectra of DNA were observed in complexes containing several of the peptoids and both lipitoids, although FTIR spectroscopy demonstrated that the DNA remained in the B-form. The lack of correlations between the physical properties and the transfection activities of these polyplexes suggests that a further subpopulation examination of these complexes by these methods may reveal hidden structure-activity relationships.

Structural and Spectroscopic Studies of Peptoid Oligomers with Alpha-chiral Aliphatic Side Chains

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Nov, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14583049

Substantial progress has been made in the synthesis and characterization of various oligomeric molecules capable of autonomous folding to well-defined, repetitive secondary structures. It is now possible to investigate sequence-structure relationships and the driving forces for folding in these systems. Here, we present detailed analysis by X-ray crystallography, NMR, and circular dichroism (CD) of the helical structures formed by N-substituted glycine (or "peptoid") oligomers with alpha-chiral, aliphatic side chains. The X-ray crystal structure of a N-(1-cyclohexylethyl)glycine pentamer, the first reported for any peptoid, shows a helix with cis-amide bonds, approximately 3 residues per turn, and a pitch of approximately 6.7 A. The backbone dihedral angles of this pentamer are similar to those of a polyproline type I peptide helix, in agreement with prior modeling predictions. This crystal structure likely represents the major solution conformers, since the CD spectra of analogous peptoid hexamers, dodecamers, and pentadecamers, composed entirely of either (S)-N-(1-cyclohexylethyl)glycine or (S)-N-(sec-butyl)glycine monomers, also have features similar to those of the polyproline type I helix. Furthermore, this crystal structure is similar to a solution NMR structure previously described for a peptoid pentamer comprised of chiral, aromatic side chains, which suggests that peptoids containing either aromatic or aliphatic alpha-chiral side chains adopt fundamentally similar helical structures in solution, despite distinct CD spectra. The elucidation of detailed structural information for peptoid helices with alpha-chiral aliphatic side chains will facilitate the mimicry of biomolecules, such as transmembrane protein domains, in a distinctly stable form.

Incorporation of Chemoselective Functionalities into Peptoids Via Solid-phase Submonomer Synthesis

Bioconjugate Chemistry. Mar-Apr, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15025542

A simple route to the introduction of a number of chemoselective functional groups into peptoids (oligo(N-substituted glycines)) by an extension of the standard solid-phase submonomer method is reported. The following groups were introduced: aminooxyacetamide, N-(carbamoylmethyl)acetohydrazide, mercaptoacetamide, 2-pyridinesulfenylmercaptoacetamide, and aldehyde-terminated peptoids. The method uses commercially available reagents, is fully compatible with standard peptoid submonomer synthesis conditions, is easily automated, and generates the desired functionalized peptoid in high yield and purity. Peptoids with suitable pairs of chemoselective ligation groups were joined in high yield.

Folding a Nonbiological Polymer into a Compact Multihelical Structure

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Aug, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16076207

The only molecules that are currently known to fold into unique three-dimensional conformations and perform sophisticated functions are biological polymers - proteins and some RNA molecules. Our aim is to create a nonbiological sequence-specific polymer that folds in aqueous solution. Toward that end, we synthesized sequence-specific 30mer, 45mer, and 60mer peptoid oligomers (N-substituted glycine polymers) consisting of 15mer units we chained together by disulfide and oxime linkages to mimic the helical bundle structures commonly found in proteins. Because these 15mer sequences were previously shown to form defined helical structures that aggregate together at submillimolar concentrations, we expected that by covalently linking multiple 15mers together, they might fold as helical bundles. To probe whether they folded, we used fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) reporter groups. We found that certain constructs fold up with a hydrophobic core and have cooperative folding transitions. Such molecules may ultimately provide a platform for designing specific functions resembling those of proteins.

A Threaded Loop Conformation Adopted by a Family of Peptoid Nonamers

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Feb, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16448149

Non-natural polymers with well-defined three-dimensional folds offer considerable potential for engineering novel functions that are outside the scope of biological polymers. Here we describe a family of N-substituted glycine or "peptoid" nonamers that folds into an unusual "threaded loop" structure of exceptional thermal stability and conformational homogeneity in acetonitrile. The structure is chain-length-specific and relies on bulky, chiral side chains and chain-terminating functional groups for stability. Notable elements of the structure include the engagement of the positively charged amino terminus by carbonyl groups of the backbone through hydrogen bonding interactions and shielding of polar groups from and near-complete exposure of hydrophobic groups to solvent, in a manner resembling a folded polypeptide globular domain turned inside-out. The structure is stable in a variety of organic solvents but is readily denatured in any solvent/cosolvent milieu with hydrogen bonding potential. The structure could serve as a scaffold for the elaboration of novel functions and could be used to test methodologies for predicting solvent-dependent polymer folding.

Cleavable Hydrophilic Linker for One-bead-one-compound Sequencing of Oligomer Libraries by Tandem Mass Spectrometry

Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry. May-Jun, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16677012

We have developed a method for the rapid and unambiguous identification of sequences of hit compounds from one-bead-one-compound combinatorial libraries of peptide and peptoid ligands. The approach uses a cleavable linker that is hydrophilic to help reduce nonspecific binding to biological samples and allows for the attachment of a halogen tag, which greatly facilitates post-screening sequencing by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). The linker is based on a tartaric acid unit, which, upon cleavage from resin, generates a C-terminal aldehyde. This aldehyde can then be derivatized with a bromine-containing amino-oxy compound that serves as an isotope tag for subsequent MS/MS analysis of y-ion fragments. We have applied this linker and method to the syntheses of a number of peptoids that vary in sequence and length and have also demonstrated single-bead sequencing of a peptoid pentamer. The linker is also shown to have very low levels of nonspecific binding to proteins.

A Peptidomimetic SiRNA Transfection Reagent for Highly Effective Gene Silencing

Molecular BioSystems. Jun, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16880950

RNA interference (RNAi) techniques hold forth great promise for therapeutic silencing of deleterious genes. However, clinical applications of RNAi require the development of safe and efficient methods for intracellular delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) oligonucleotides specific to targeted genes. We describe the use of a lipitoid, a cationic oligopeptoid-phospholipid conjugate, for non-viral transfection of synthetic siRNA oligos in cell culture. This peptidomimetic delivery vehicle allows for efficient siRNA transfection in a variety of human cell lines with negligible toxicity and promotes extensive downregulation of the targeted genes at both the protein and the mRNA level. We compare the lipitoid reagent to a standard commercial transfection reagent. The lipitoid is highly efficient even in primary IMR-90 human lung fibroblasts in which other commercial reagents are typically ineffective.

Peptoids That Mimic the Structure, Function, and Mechanism of Helical Antimicrobial Peptides

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Feb, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18287037

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and their mimics are emerging as promising antibiotic agents. We present a library of "ampetoids" (antimicrobial peptoid oligomers) with helical structures and biomimetic sequences, several members of which have low-micromolar antimicrobial activities, similar to cationic AMPs like pexiganan. Broad-spectrum activity against six clinically relevant BSL2 pathogens is also shown. This comprehensive structure-activity relationship study, including circular dichroism spectroscopy, minimum inhibitory concentration assays, hemolysis and mammalian cell toxicity studies, and specular x-ray reflectivity measurements shows that the in vitro activities of ampetoids are strikingly similar to those of AMPs themselves, suggesting a strong mechanistic analogy. The ampetoids' antibacterial activity, coupled with their low cytotoxicity against mammalian cells, make them a promising class of antimicrobials for biomedical applications. Peptoids are biostable, with a protease-resistant N-substituted glycine backbone, and their sequences are highly tunable, because an extensive diversity of side chains can be incorporated via facile solid-phase synthesis. Our findings add to the growing evidence that nonnatural foldamers will emerge as an important class of therapeutics.

In Vitro Self-assembly of Tailorable Nanotubes from a Simple Protein Building Block

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Mar, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18310321

We demonstrate a method for generating discretely structured protein nanotubes from the simple ring-shaped building block, homohexameric Hcp1 from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Our design exploited the observation that the crystal lattice of Hcp1 contains rings stacked in a repeating head-to-tail pattern. High-resolution detail of the ring-ring interface allowed the selection of sites for specific cysteine mutations capable of engaging in disulfide bond formation across rings, thereby generating stable Hcp1 nanotubes. Protein nanotubes containing up to 25 subunits ( approximately 100 nm in length) were self-assembled under simple conditions. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the tube ends and interior can be independently and specifically functionalized to generate nanocapsules.

Intranasal Administration Delivers Peptoids to the Rat Central Nervous System

Neuroscience Letters. Jul, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18501511

Intranasal administration of therapeutic agents offers a noninvasive method of drug delivery that bypasses the blood-brain barrier and directly targets the central nervous system (CNS) and lymph nodes. We examined whether intranasal peptoid CHIR5585, an antagonist of the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), is delivered to the CNS. Peptoids are a novel class of peptide isomers that are oligomeric N-substituted glycine peptides. Anesthetized male rats were administered peptoid CHIR5585 intranasally, and tissue distribution was evaluated quantitatively by gamma counting and qualitatively by autoradiography. Intranasal administration resulted in significant delivery throughout the CNS (olfactory bulbs, 3.9microM; cortex, 0.3microM; trigeminal nerve, 1.7microM) and deep cervical lymph nodes (4.5microM). Autoradiography demonstrated a similar delivery pattern to the CNS.

Biomimetic Nanostructures: Creating a High-affinity Zinc-binding Site in a Folded Nonbiological Polymer

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Jul, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18597438

One of the long-term goals in developing advanced biomaterials is to generate protein-like nanostructures and functions from a completely nonnatural polymer. Toward that end, we introduced a high-affinity zinc-binding function into a peptoid (N-substituted glycine polymer) two-helix bundle. Borrowing from well-understood zinc-binding motifs in proteins, thiol and imidazole moieties were positioned within the peptoid such that both helices must align in close proximity to form a binding site. We used fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) reporter groups to measure the change of the distance between the two helical segments and to probe the binding of zinc. We systematically varied the position and number of zinc-binding residues, as well as the sequence and size of the loop that connects the two helical segments. We found that certain peptoid two-helix bundles bind zinc with nanomolar affinities and high selectivity compared to other divalent metal ions. Our work is a significant step toward generating biomimetic nanostructures with enzyme-like functions.

High-throughput Sequencing of Peptoids and Peptide-peptoid Hybrids by Partial Edman Degradation and Mass Spectrometry

Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry. Mar, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19154119

A method for the rapid sequence determination of peptoids [oligo(N-substituted glycines)] and peptide-peptoid hybrids selected from one-bead-one-compound combinatorial libraries has been developed. In this method, beads carrying unique peptoid (or peptide-peptoid) sequences were subjected to multiple cycles of partial Edman degradation (PED) by treatment with a 1:3 (mol/mol) mixture of phenyl isothiocyanate (PITC) and 9-fluorenylmethyl chloroformate (Fmoc-Cl) to generate a series of N-terminal truncation products for each resin-bound peptoid. After PED, the Fmoc group was removed from the N-terminus and any reacted side chains via piperidine treatment. The resulting mixture of the full-length peptoid and its truncation products was analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry, to reveal the sequence of the full-length peptoid. With a slight modification, the method was also effective in the sequence determination of peptide-peptoid hybrids. This rapid, high-throughput, sensitive, and inexpensive sequencing method should greatly expand the utility of combinatorial peptoid libraries in biomedical and materials research.

Peptoids As Potential Therapeutics

Current Opinion in Molecular Therapeutics. Jun, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19479663

Peptoids are oligomers of N-substituted glycine units. These molecules are almost perfectly suited for combinatorial approaches to drug discovery because large libraries can be synthesized easily from readily available primary amines. Moreover, major advances in screening methodology have allowed peptoid libraries of hundreds of thousands of compounds to be mined inexpensively and quickly for highly specific protein-binding molecules. These advances and the potential utility of peptoids as pharmacological agents are reviewed.

Close Mimicry of Lung Surfactant Protein B by "clicked" Dimers of Helical, Cationic Peptoids

Biopolymers. 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19777571

A family of peptoid dimers developed to mimic SP-B is presented, where two amphipathic, cationic helices are linked by an achiral octameric chain. SP-B is a vital therapeutic protein in lung surfactant replacement therapy, but its large-scale isolation or chemical synthesis is impractical. Enhanced biomimicry of SP-B's disulfide-bonded structure has been previously attempted via disulfide-mediated dimerization of SP-B(1-25) and other peptide mimics, which improved surface activity relative to the monomers. Herein, the effects of disulfide- or "click"-mediated (1,3-dipolar cycloaddition) dimerization, as well as linker chemistry, on the lipid-associated surfactant activity of a peptoid monomer are described. Results revealed that the 'clicked' peptoid dimer enhanced in vitro surface activity in a DPPC:POPG:PA lipid film relative to its disulfide-bonded and monomeric counterparts in both surface balance and pulsating bubble surfactometry studies. On the pulsating bubble surfactometer, the film containing the "clicked" peptoid dimer outperformed all presented peptoid monomers and dimers, and two SP-B derived peptides, attaining an adsorbed surface tension of 22 mN m(-1), and maximum and minimum cycling values of 42 mN m(-1) and near-zero, respectively.

Novel Peptoid Building Blocks: Synthesis of Functionalized Aromatic Helix-inducing Submonomers

Organic Letters. Feb, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20055478

Peptoids, oligo-N-substituted glycines, can fold into well-defined helical secondary structures. The design and synthesis of new peptoid building blocks that are capable of both (a) inducing a helical secondary structure and (b) decorating the helices with chemical functionalities are reported. Peptoid heptamers containing carboxamide, carboxylic acid or thiol functionalities were synthesized, and the resulting peptoids were shown to form stable helices. A thiol-containing peptoid readily formed the homodisulfide, providing a convenient route to prepare peptoid helix homodimers.

Gold Nanoparticle Self-similar Chain Structure Organized by DNA Origami

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20163139

Here we demonstrate Au nanoparticle self-similar chain structure organized by triangle DNA origami with well-controlled orientation and <10 nm spacing. We show for the first time that a large DNA complex (origami) and multiple AuNP conjugates can be well-assembled and purified with reliable yields. The assembled structure could be used to generate high local-field enhancement. The same method can be used to precisely localize multiple components on a DNA template for potential applications in nanophotonic, nanomagnetic, and nanoelectronic devices.

Templated Display of Biomolecules and Inorganic Nanoparticles by Metal Ion-induced Peptide Nanofibers

Chemical Communications (Cambridge, England). Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20177599

We functionalized peptide nanofibers to provide a nano-scale template for the display of biomolecules and inorganic nanoparticles using metal ion coordination. Nanofibers assembled only in the presence of certain divalent metal ions, and could be readily dissolved by a metal-chelating reagent, EDTA.

Free-floating Ultrathin Two-dimensional Crystals from Sequence-specific Peptoid Polymers

Nature Materials. May, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20383129

The design and synthesis of protein-like polymers is a fundamental challenge in materials science. A biomimetic approach is to explore the impact of monomer sequence on non-natural polymer structure and function. We present the aqueous self-assembly of two peptoid polymers into extremely thin two-dimensional (2D) crystalline sheets directed by periodic amphiphilicity, electrostatic recognition and aromatic interactions. Peptoids are sequence-specific, oligo-N-substituted glycine polymers designed to mimic the structure and functionality of proteins. Mixing a 1:1 ratio of two oppositely charged peptoid 36mers of a specific sequence in aqueous solution results in the formation of giant, free-floating sheets with only 2.7 nm thickness. Direct visualization of aligned individual peptoid chains in the sheet structure was achieved using aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy. Specific binding of a protein to ligand-functionalized sheets was also demonstrated. The synthetic flexibility and biocompatibility of peptoids provide a flexible and robust platform for integrating functionality into defined 2D nanostructures.

Hierarchical Self-assembly of a Biomimetic Diblock Copolypeptoid into Homochiral Superhelices

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Nov, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20964429

The aqueous self-assembly of a sequence-specific bioinspired peptoid diblock copolymer into monodisperse superhelices is demonstrated to be the result of a hierarchical process, strongly dependent on the charging level of the molecule. The partially charged amphiphilic diblock copolypeptoid 30-mer, [N-(2-phenethyl)glycine](15)-[N-(2-carboxyethyl)glycine](15), forms superhelices in high yields, with diameters of 624 ± 69 nm and lengths ranging from 2 to 20 μm. Chemical analogs coupled with X-ray scattering and crystallography of a model compound have been used to develop a hierarchical model of self-assembly. Lamellar stacks roll up to form a supramolecular double helical structure with the internal ordering of the stacks being mediated by crystalline aromatic side chain-side chain interactions within the hydrophobic block. The role of electrostatic and hydrogen bonding interactions in the hydrophilic block is also investigated and found to be important in the self-assembly process.

Aβ40 Oligomers Identified As a Potential Biomarker for the Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease

PloS One. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 21209907

Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is the most prevalent form of dementia worldwide, yet the development of therapeutics has been hampered by the absence of suitable biomarkers to diagnose the disease in its early stages prior to the formation of amyloid plaques and the occurrence of irreversible neuronal damage. Since oligomeric Aβ species have been implicated in the pathophysiology of AD, we reasoned that they may correlate with the onset of disease. As such, we have developed a novel misfolded protein assay for the detection of soluble oligomers composed of Aβ x-40 and x-42 peptide (hereafter Aβ40 and Aβ42) from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Preliminary validation of this assay with 36 clinical samples demonstrated the presence of aggregated Aβ40 in the CSF of AD patients. Together with measurements of total Aβ42, diagnostic sensitivity and specificity greater than 95% and 90%, respectively, were achieved. Although larger sample populations will be needed to confirm this diagnostic sensitivity, our studies demonstrate a sensitive method of detecting circulating Aβ40 oligomers from AD CSF and suggest that these oligomers could be a powerful new biomarker for the early detection of AD.

Peptoid Origins

Biopolymers. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21184486

Peptoid oligomers were initially developed as part of a larger basic research effort to accelerate the drug-discovery process in the biotech/biopharma industry. Their ease of synthesis, stability, and structural similarity to polypeptides made them ideal candidates for the combinatorial discovery of novel peptidomimetic drug candidates. Diverse libraries of short peptoid oligomers provided one of the first demonstrations in the mid-1990s that high-affinity ligands to pharmaceutically relevant receptors could be discovered from combinatorial libraries of synthetic compounds. The solid-phase submonomer method of peptoid synthesis was so efficient and general that it soon became possible to explore the properties of longer polypeptoid chains in a variety of areas beyond drug discovery (e.g., diagnostics, drug delivery, and materials science). Exploration into protein-mimetic materials soon followed, with the fundamental goal of folding a non-natural sequence-specific heteropolymer into defined secondary or tertiary structures. This effort first yielded the peptoid helix and much later the peptoid sheet, both of which are secondary-structure mimetics that are close relatives to their natural counterparts. These crucial discoveries have brought us closer to building proteinlike structure and function from a non-natural polymer and have provided great insight into the rules governing polymer and protein folding. The accessibility of peptoid synthesis to chemists and nonchemists alike, along with a lack of information-rich non-natural polymers available to study, has led to a rapid growth in the field of peptoid science by many new investigators. This work provides an overview of the initial discovery and early developments in the peptoid field.

BMHP1-derived Self-assembling Peptides: Hierarchically Assembled Structures with Self-healing Propensity and Potential for Tissue Engineering Applications

ACS Nano. Mar, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21314189

Self-assembling peptides (SAPs) are rapidly gaining interest as bioinspired scaffolds for cell culture and regenerative medicine applications. Bone Marrow Homing Peptide 1 (BMHP1) functional motif (PFSSTKT) was previously demonstrated to stimulate neural stem cell (NSC) viability and differentiation when linked to SAPs. We here describe a novel ensemble of SAPs, developed from the BMHP1 (BMHP1-SAPs), that spontaneously assemble into tabular fibers, twisted ribbons, tubes and hierarchical self-assembled sheets: organized structures in the nano- and microscale. Thirty-two sequences were designed and evaluated, including biotinylated and unbiotinylated sequences, as well as a hybrid peptide-peptoid sequence. Via X-ray diffraction (XRD), CD, and FTIR experiments we demonstrated that all of the BMHP1-SAPs share similarly organized secondary structures, that is, β-sheets and β-turns, despite their heterogeneous nanostructure morphology, scaffold stiffness, and effect over NSC differentiation and survival. Notably, we demonstrated the self-healing propensity of most of the tested BMHP1-SAPs, enlarging the set of potential applications of these novel SAPs. In in vitro cell culture experiments, we showed that some of these 10-mer peptides foster adhesion, differentiation, and proliferation of human NSCs. RGD-functionalized and hybrid peptide-peptoid self-assembling sequences also opened the door to BMHP1-SAP functionalization with further bioactive motifs, essential to tailor new scaffolds for specific applications. In in vivo experiments we verified a negligible reaction of the host nervous tissue to the injected and assembled BMHP1-SAP. This work will pave the way to the development of novel SAP sequences that may be useful for material science and regenerative medicine applications.

Engineered Biomimetic Polymers As Tunable Agents for Controlling CaCO3 Mineralization

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Apr, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21417474

In nature, living organisms use peptides and proteins to precisely control the nucleation and growth of inorganic minerals and sequester CO(2)via mineralization of CaCO(3). Here we report the exploitation of a novel class of sequence-specific non-natural polymers called peptoids as tunable agents that dramatically control CaCO(3) mineralization. We show that amphiphilic peptoids composed of hydrophobic and anionic monomers exhibit both a high degree of control over calcite growth morphology and an unprecedented 23-fold acceleration of growth at a peptoid concentration of only 50 nM, while acidic peptides of similar molecular weight exhibited enhancement factors of only ∼2 or less. We further show that both the morphology and rate controls depend on peptoid sequence, side-chain chemistry, chain length, and concentration. These findings provide guidelines for developing sequence-specific non-natural polymers that mimic the functions of natural peptides or proteins in their ability to direct mineralization of CaCO(3), with an eye toward their application to sequestration of CO(2) through mineral trapping.

A Universal Method for Detection of Amyloidogenic Misfolded Proteins

Biochemistry. May, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21539296

Diseases associated with the misfolding of endogenous proteins, such as Alzheimer's disease and type II diabetes, are becoming increasingly prevalent. The pathophysiology of these diseases is not totally understood, but mounting evidence suggests that the misfolded protein aggregates themselves may be toxic to cells and serve as key mediators of cell death. As such, an assay that can detect aggregates in a sensitive and selective fashion could provide the basis for early detection of disease, before cellular damage occurs. Here we report the evolution of a reagent that can selectively capture diverse misfolded proteins by interacting with a common supramolecular feature of protein aggregates. By coupling this enrichment tool with protein specific immunoassays, diverse misfolded proteins and sub-femtomole amounts of oligomeric aggregates can be detected in complex biological matrices. We anticipate that this near-universal approach for quantitative misfolded protein detection will become a useful research tool for better understanding amyloidogenic protein pathology as well as serve as the basis for early detection of misfolded protein diseases.

Shaken, Not Stirred: Collapsing a Peptoid Monolayer to Produce Free-floating, Stable Nanosheets

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21939206

Two-dimensional nanomaterials play a critical role in biology (e.g., lipid bilayers) and electronics (e.g., graphene) but are difficult to directly synthesize with a high level of precision. Peptoid nanosheet bilayers are a versatile synthetic platform for constructing multifunctional, precisely ordered two-dimensional nanostructures. Here we show that nanosheet formation occurs through an unusual monolayer intermediate at the air-water interface. Lateral compression of a self-assembled peptoid monolayer beyond a critical collapse pressure results in the irreversible production of nanosheets. An unusual thermodynamic cycle is employed on a preparative scale, where mechanical energy is used to buckle an intermediate monolayer into a more stable nanosheet. Detailed physical studies of the monolayer-compression mechanism revealed a simple preparative technique to produce nanosheets in 95% overall yield by cyclical monolayer compressions in a rotating closed vial. Compression of monolayers into stable, free-floating products may be a general and preparative approach to access 2D nanomaterials.

Protein Side-chain Translocation Mutagenesis Via Incorporation of Peptoid Residues

ACS Chemical Biology. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21958072

For the last few decades, chemistry has played an important role in protein engineering by providing a variety of synthetic tools such as chemoselective side-chain modifications, chemical conjugation, incorporation of non-natural amino acids, and the development of protein-mimetic heteropolymers. Here we study protein backbone engineering in order to better understand the molecular mechanism of protein function and to introduce protease stable, non-natural residues into a protein structure. Using a combination of genetic engineering and chemical synthesis, we were able to introduce peptoid residues (N-substituted glycine residues) at defined positions into bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A. This results in a side-chain translocation from the Cα carbon to the neighboring backbone nitrogen atom. To generate these peptoid substitutions, we removed the N-terminal S-peptide of the protein by proteolysis and chemically conjugated synthetic peptide-peptoid hybrids to the new N-terminus. A triple peptoid mutant containing a catalytic His12 peptoid mutation was active with a k(cat)/K(m) value of 1.0 × 10(4) M(-1) s(-1). This k(cat)/K(m) value is only 10-fold lower than the control wild-type conjugate and comparable in magnitude to many other natural enzymes. The peptoid mutations increased the chain flexibility at the site of peptoid substitution and at its C-terminal neighboring residue. Our ability to translocate side chains by one atom along the proten backbone advances a synthetic mutagenesis tool and opens up a new level of protein engineering.

Folding of a Single-chain, Information-rich Polypeptoid Sequence into a Highly Ordered Nanosheet

Biopolymers. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22180906

The design and synthesis of protein-like polymers is a fundamental challenge in materials science. A means to achieve this goal is to create synthetic polymers of defined sequence where all relevant folding information is incorporated into a single polymer strand. We present here the aqueous self-assembly of peptoid polymers (N-substituted glycines) into ultrathin, two-dimensional highly ordered nanosheets, where all folding information is encoded into a single chain. The sequence designs enforce a two-fold amphiphilic periodicity. Two sequences were considered: one with charged residues alternately positive and negative (alternating patterning), and one with charges segregated in positive and negative halves of the molecule (block patterning). Sheets form between pH 5 and 10 with the optimal conditions being pH 6 for the alternating sequence and pH 8 for the block sequence. Once assembled, the nanosheets remain stable between pH 6 and 10 with observed degradation beginning to occur below pH 6. The alternating charge nanosheets remain stable up to concentrations of 20% acetonitrile, whereas the block pattern displayed greater robustness remaining stable up to 30% acetonitrile. These observations are consistent with expectations based on considerations of the molecules' electrostatic interactions. This study represents an important step in the construction of abiotic materials founded on biological informatic and folding principles.

Stabilization of Nanoparticles Under Biological Assembly Conditions Using Peptoids

Biopolymers. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 22180912

Sequence-specific polymers are proving to be a powerful approach to assembly and manipulation of matter on the nanometer scale. This has been most impressive in the case of DNA, and progress has been made toward templating inorganic nanoparticles using DNA nanostructures. One obstacle to this progress is that inorganic nanomaterials are often incompatible with DNA assembly conditions, which involve aqueous solutions high in either or both monovalent and divalent salt. Synthetic oligopeptide ligands have been shown by others to improve nanoparticle stability in high concentrations of monovalent salt. Ligands that are peptoids, or sequence-specific N-functional glycine oligomers, allow precise and flexible control over the arrangement of binding groups, steric spacers, charge, and other functionality. We have synthesized short peptoids that can prevent the aggregation of gold nanoparticles in high-salt environments including divalent salt, and allow coadsorption of a single DNA molecule. This degree of precision and versatility is likely to prove essential in bottom-up assembly of nanostructures and in biomedical applications of nanomaterials.

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