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Research

SuprHApolymers - Engineering macromolecular self-assembly of hyaluronan (HA)-based glycopolymers with peptides

Principal investigator: David LEE
Co-investigator(s): Helena AZEVEDO
Funding source(s): Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (FP7)/European Union
 Start: 01-03-2014  /  End: 28-02-2018
 Amount: £75,000
Directly incurred staff: Dominic Collis

“SuprHApolymers” project aims to design and synthesize glycopolymers mimicking the composition and structure of hyaluronan (HA), a linear polysaccharide composed of repeating disaccharide units of N-acetyl-glucosamine and glucuronic acid but with many important biological functions. Linear glycopolymers, made solely of GlcNAc or GlcUA sugars (homopolymers) or containing both sugars (copolymers) will be synthesized to study their interaction with synthetic peptides bearing HA-binding motifs (peptide library). The synthesis of HA-based glycopopymers with branched architecture will be also attempted to explore different polymer configurations and to create optimal interactions with peptides. The self-assembly of HA glycopolymers with peptide amphiphiles containing selected HA-binding sequences will be investigated to form de novo peptide-polymer hybrid supramolecular materials with different molecular and macroscopic properties. Finally, the formed functional assemblies (nanostructures and supramolecular gels or films) will be explored for applications in synthetic biology and biomedicine.