Proteins and peptides, built from precisely defined amino acid sequences, are an important class of biomolecules that play a vital role in most biological functions. Preparation of nanostructures through functionalization of natural, hydrophilic proteins/peptides with synthetic polymers or upon self-assembly of all-synthetic amphiphilic copolypept(o)ides and amino acid-containing polymers enables access to novel protein-mimicking biomaterials with superior physicochemical properties and immense biorelevant scope. In recent years, polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) has been established as an efficient and versatile alternative method to existing self-assembly procedures for the reproducible development of block copolymer nano-objects in situ at high concentrations and, thus, provides an ideal platform for engineering protein-inspired nanomaterials. In this review article, the different strategies employed for direct construction of protein-, (poly)peptide-, and amino acid-based nanostructures via PISA are described with particular focus on the characteristics of the developed block copolymer assemblies, as well as their utilization in various pharmaceutical and biomedical applications.
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Funding: M.J.D. wishes to thank the EPSRC for providing a DTP studentship for G.L.M. (EPSRC DTP 2020–2021, Aston University, Grant Ref: EP/T518128/1).
- Block copolymers
- Polymerization-induced selfassembly
- Protein–polymer conjugates
- α-amino acids