Directed co-assembly of block copolymers and proteins/peptides may lead to hierarchically structured functional biomolecular materials. However, this requires one to synergistically direct multiple self-assembly processes. Retaining proper cofactor binding is essential to utilize many bio-motifs for catalytic reactions and sensing. Here, by using a heme-binding helix bundle peptide-polymer conjugate and a holo myoglobin-polymer conjugate as examples, we show that the simultaneous, macroscopic assembly of heme-binding proteins and diblock copolymers can be achieved in thin films without compromising protein structures, cofactor binding and enzymatic activities. To our knowledge, this is the first example of a protein/cofactor complex formed upon being co-assembled with an amphiphilic block copolymer in thin films. Molecular assembly via a combination of biomolecular recognition and polymer phase separation in this fashion will lead to hybrid materials combining properties of both synthetic and biological building blocks.
Presley, A.D., J. Chang, T. Xu