Abstract: Chapter 6 reviews recent efforts to investigate the hierarchical self-assembly and dynamics in an important class of biomaterials: polypeptides. Polypeptides play a vital part of the molecules designed for use in drug delivery of gene therapy and thus have been subject of intensive studies. However, their dynamic response only recently has started to be explored. In the first part we discuss the origin of the dynamic arrest of polypeptides at the glass “transition”. In this respect, pressure plays again a decisive role as it is used to identify structural and dynamic defects (i.e. solitons). Subsequently, and as a direct consequence of the first part, we discuss that, contrary to expectation and common belief, helices in concentrated polypeptide solutions are objects of low persistence. In the third part we address the effect of confinement in controlling the type, the persistence and dynamics of secondary structures.
KeywordsAnodic Aluminum Oxide Glass Temperature Segmental Dynamic Backbone Dynamic Dielectric Spectroscopy
We thank several people that contributed to the work presented in this chapter: Prof. N. Hadjichristidis, Prof. H. Iatrou, Prof. H.-A. Klok and Dr. H. Duran for the synthesis; Dr. M. Mondeshki and Prof. H.W. Spiess for the solid state NMR studies and for many fruifull discussions; and Dr. P. Papadopoulos and Dr. A. Gitsas for the dielectric studies.
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