A technique developed by Miami University associate professors of chemistry and biochemistry Dominik Konkolewicz and Rick Page may help enable more rapid and efficient development of new materials for use in pharmaceuticals, biofuels, and other applications.
Konkolewicz’s and Page’s technique uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology to illuminate how proteins and synthetic polymers interact in chemical substances known as bioconjugates.
Why bioconjugates are useful
Proteins can be used to catalyze chemical reactions that are useful in many applications. For example, protein enzymes are used to produce high-fructose corn syrup and insulin is used to treat diabetes. But some proteins are active for only a very short time or they break down easily, so it’s just not practical—or cost-effective—to use them. Protein bioconjugates overcome proteins’ limitations by attaching synthetic molecules, often polymers, to the protein.
“Proteins have fantastic performance,” Konkolewicz says, “but there’s not a lot of flexibility in the chemistry we can put into a protein. Polymers offer a huge diversity of structure and function that we can incorporate in to extend […]
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