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Final Activity Report Summary - ALTMORG (Affinity Labeling Techniques for Molecular Organisation)

This project aimed at combining in a unique manner the chemical properties of proteins in order to build previously unreachable (supra) molecular constructs. The key to achieving our goal was the synthesis of conjugates between small molecules known as affinity labels (that have the capacity to react specifically with a precise amino-acid in the active site of active enzymes) and functional groups that can yield either supramolecular constructs (such as polypyridines) or monomers. The reaction of these conjugates with a protein yields either protein-decorated supramolecular constructs or polymers that contain in their structure proteins positioned at precise locations. In particular, in our work we used affinity labels tailored to react with cystein proteases, in particular papain.

We chose to do so because papain is a readily available protein and therefore can be used in quantities relevant for material sciences. Papain-specific affinity labels were conjugated either to polypyridine ligands, well known for their self-assembly properties or to methylmetacrylate, a well-known group that can be polymerized in physiological conditions. We have conclusively proven that through our strategy we can construct both protein-decorated supramolecular constructs and protein-decorated polymers. Additionally, by conjugating affinity labels with oligonucleotides we are on the way of developing an electronic enzyme activity detection device, in collaboration with the Rant group from the physics department at TUM, based on DNA switching layers technology.

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