Dr. Douglas Dyckes' research group is exploring the synthesis of novel dipeptide analogues with rigid structures. These molecules, with well-defined geometries, are designed to be used in two ways:
- as substitutes for natural amino acids in biologically active peptides
- as monomers for polyamide polymers with varying degrees of flexibility
The first of these uses will permit the synthesis of peptide analogues with more predictable conformations. Many studies have shown that peptides that act as hormones, signaling substances, inhibitors, etc., can display enhanced activity when they are restricted to conformations that closely resemble their binding geometry. The small molecules that we are proposing offer geometries not currently seen in other amino acid analogues.
Polypeptides are endowed with the ability to form intra- and inter-strand hydrogen bonds. Polymers of dipeptides of varying rigidity have the potential for displaying a wide variety of mechanical and physical properties. We hope to use our rigid dipeptide analogues to prepare polymers with interesting and perhaps unique properties.
The projects currently underway in Dr. Dyckes' group involve the total synthesis of new analogs of the type discussed above, the analysis of new ways to activate them for incorporation into analogues and/or polymers, and the synthesis of some polymer prototypes.
Recent Reports of Progress: