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Polyhedral silsesquioxanes are considered valuable conjugation scaffolds. Nevertheless, only a few examples of silsesquioxane-assembled peptide oligomers have been reported to date. We developed a new bioorthogonal cube-octameric silsesquioxane (COSS) scaffold bearing eight aminooxy coupling sites allowing for the conjugation of diverse peptides via oxime ligation. We found that the coupling efficacy depends on the ligand in view of steric hindrance and electrostatic repulsion. For the first time scaffold-based conjugation of cystine-knot miniproteins having a backbone of about thirty amino acids was successfully accomplished without loss of bioactivity. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) provided further knowledge on the size of COSS verifying them as picoscaffolds growing upon bioconjugation to nano-dimension.
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Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
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