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Vesicles from peptidic side-chain polymers synthesized by atom transfer radical polymerization

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Dave J. Adams
  • Derek Atkins
  • Andrew I. Cooper
  • Steve Furzeland
  • Abbie Trewin
  • Iain Young
Journal publication date11/2008
Number of pages7
Original languageEnglish


Block copolymers can adopt a wide range of morphologies in dilute aqueous solution. There is a significant amount of interest in the use of block copolymer vesicles for a number of applications. We show that a series of oligo(valine) and oligo(phenylalanine) peptides coupled to a methacrylic group can be prepared by conventional peptide coupling techniques. These can be successfully polymerized by atom transfer radical polymerization (ATPP) in hexafluoroisopropanol (HFIP) giving access to poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(side-chain peptides). Many of these polymers self-assemble to form vesicles using an organic to aqueous solvent exchange. One example with a divaline hydrophobic block gives a mixture of toroids and vesicles. Circular dichroism demonstrates that secondary structuring is observed in the hydrophobic region of the vesicle walls for the valine side-chain containing polymers.