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Issue 28, 2016
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Hydrogels from amphiphilic star block copolypeptides

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A range of 8-arm star-shaped diblock copolypeptides were developed to investigate their potential as self-assembling amphiphiles in aqueous media. These star-shaped block copolypeptides were sythesised by sequential N-carboxyanhydride (NCA) polymerisation from a polypropylene imine (PPI) dendrimer core to comprise a poly(L-lysine) core and poly(L-tyrosine), poly(L-phenylalanine), poly(L-valine) and poly(L-alanine) outer blocks. All star block copolypeptides except the poly(alanine) copolymer spontaneously self-assemble into hydrogels at a low polymer concentration of ≤2 wt%. Investigation of the secondary structure by FTIR and Circular Dichroism (CD) spectroscopy confirm a largely random coil conformation. The hydrogels were further investigated for their viscoelastic properties revealing a strong structure dependence of the hydrogel strength. The highest gel strength was achieved with the star block copolypeptide containing the poly(L-phenylalanine) outer blocks. The versatility of the hydrophilic/hydrophobic system allows for straightforward modification of the hydrophobic sequence, which can be utilised to modulate the mechanical strength for various applications.

Graphical abstract: Hydrogels from amphiphilic star block copolypeptides

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The article was received on 14 Jan 2016, accepted on 22 Feb 2016 and first published on 23 Feb 2016

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6RA01190J
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RSC Adv., 2016,6, 23370-23376

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    Hydrogels from amphiphilic star block copolypeptides

    R. Murphy, T. Borase, C. Payne, J. O'Dwyer, S.-A. Cryan and A. Heise, RSC Adv., 2016, 6, 23370
    DOI: 10.1039/C6RA01190J

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