Polymer and Materials Science
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
The carboxylate-containing homopolypeptides poly(L-glutamate) [poly(Glu)] and poly(L-aspartate) [poly(Asp)] were found to form different types of ordered structures in the presence of poly(L-lysine) [poly(Lys)]. Mixing poly(Glu) with poly(Lys) in aqueous solution at neutral pH results in the instantaneous formation of a gel-like precipitate. The secondary structure of the gel precipitate can be best described as intermolecular antiparallel β-strands, involving the backbone amide groups, as evidenced by the presence of characteristic amide I bands in the ir spectrum at 1684 and 1612 cm-1. Mixing poly (Asp) with poly(Lys) under identical conditions results in the formation of a fine precipitate with a different morphology. Examination of the ir spectrum of the precipitate revealed that unlike poly(Glu), poly (Asp) did not yield any discrete secondary structure upon precipitation with poly(Lys). Addition of solutions containing Ca2+ or Mg2+ to the poly (Glu)/poly (Lys) aggregates resulted in complete dissolution of the gel, with the disappearance of the ir bands characteristic of the intermolecular hydrogen-bonded network. The results demonstrate the importance of salt bridges in establishing strong hydrogen bonds between the backbone amide groups. Reaggregation occurred upon heating the poly (Glu)/poly (Lys) mixture in the presence of Ca2+, but not in the presence of Mg2+ ions. In the presence of Ca2+ ions, aggregation and formation of an extended hydrogen-bonded network occurred upon heating. The aggregates formed upon heating poly (Glu)/poly (Lys) in the presence of Ca2+ were attributed solely to complexation of Ca2+ to the carboxylate groups of poly (Glu) with poly (Lys) remaining free in solution. Dissolution of the aggregate could be accomplished through addition of Mg2+ at room temperature. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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