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Self-assembly and bioactivity of a polymer/peptide conjugate containing the RGD cell adhesion motif and PEG

Castelletto, V., Gouveia, R. J., Connon, C. J. and Hamley, I. W. ORCID: (2013) Self-assembly and bioactivity of a polymer/peptide conjugate containing the RGD cell adhesion motif and PEG. European Polymer Journal, 49 (10). pp. 2961-2967. ISSN 0014-3057

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2013.02.016


The self-assembly and bioactivity of the peptide–polymer conjugate DGRFFF–PEG3000 containing the RGD cell adhesion motif has been examined, in aqueous solution. The conjugate is designed to be amphiphilic by incorporation of three hydrophobic phenylalanine residues as well as the RGD unit and a short poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) chain of molar mass 3000 kg mol-1. Above a critical aggregation concentration, determined by fluorescence measurements, signals of b-sheet structure are revealed by spectroscopic measurements, as well as X-ray diffraction. At high concentration, a self-assembled fibril nanostructure is revealed by electron microscopy. The fibrils are observed despite PEG crystallization which occurs on drying. This suggests that DGRFFF has an aggregation tendency that is sufficiently strong not to be prevented by PEG crystallization. The adhesion, viability and proliferation of human corneal fibroblasts was examined for films of the conjugate on tissue culture plates (TCPs) as well as low attachment plates. On TCP, DGRFFF–PEG3000 films prepared at sufficiently low concentration are viable, and cell proliferation is observed. However, on low attachment surfaces, neither cell adhesion nor proliferation was observed, indicating that the RGD motif was not available to enhance cell adhesion. This was ascribed to the core–shell architecture of the self-assembled fibrils with a peptide core surrounded by a PEG shell which hinders access to the RGD unit.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:34126

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