Cyclic peptide-polymer conjugates: Grafting-to vs grafting-from

Sophie C. Larnaudie, Johannes C. Brendel, Katrina A. Jolliffe, Sebastien Perrier

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A systematic comparison between the grafting-to (convergent) and grafting-from (divergent) synthetic routes leading to cyclic peptide-polymer conjugates is described. The reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) process was used to control the polymerizations and the couplings between cyclic peptide and polymer or RAFT agent were performed using N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) active ester ligation. The kinetics of polymerization and polymer conjugation to cyclic peptides were studied for both grafting-to and grafting-from synthetic routes, using N-acryloyl morpholine as a model monomer. The cyclic peptide chain transfer agent was able to mediate polymerization as efficiently as a traditional RAFT agent, reaching high conversion in the same time scale while maintaining excellent control over the molecular weight distribution. The conjugation of polymers to cyclic peptides proceeded to high conversion, and the nature of the carbon at the α-position to the NHS group was found to play a crucial role in the reaction kinetics. The study was extended to a wider range of monomers, including hydrophilic and temperature responsive acrylamides, hydrophilic and hydrophobic acrylates, and hydrophobic and pH responsive methacrylates. Both approaches lead to similar peptide-polymer conjugates in most cases, while some exceptions highlight the advantages of one or the other method, thereby demonstrating their complementarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1011
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part A: Polymer Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • kinetics (polym.)
  • peptide-polymer conjugates
  • peptides
  • reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT)

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