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A Synthetic Molecular Machine Capable of Complex Task Performance: Processive Sequence-Selective Synthesis

Final Report Summary - 'RIBOSOME MM' (A synthetic molecular machine capable of complex task performance: processive sequence-selective synthesis)

The goal of this project is to transpose the information inscribed onto a molecular tape or thread into a product in a sequence-specific manner with the help of a molecular machine, specifically to develop a rotaxane-based molecular machine capable of sequence specific peptide synthesis. The project involved the development of methodology for efficient rotaxane assembly without strong intercomponent interactions within the product; design and construction of a track with appropriate blocking groups; model studies to develop transamidation chemistry; and finally, the assembly, characterisation and operation of the molecular machine.

A reliable synthesis for each one of the building blocks of the rotaxane-based molecular machine was established, as well as an efficient and convergent method to bring them together. The construction of rotaxanes with one and two amino acid fragments has been optimised. Model studies have been completed and conditions for the operation of the molecular machine have been successfully established for simple test systems involving one amino acid residue.

The achievement of synthesising and operating such a complex molecular machine, which could be regarded as a simplified molecular ribosome model, would be by far the most complex task ever performed by a purely synthetic system.

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