Cysteine-containing polyisocyanides as versatile nanoplatforms for chromophoric and bioscaffolding

Severine le Gac, Stephane Le Gac, Erik Schwartz, E. Schwartz, Matthieu Koepf, Jeroen Johannes Lambertus Maria Cornelissen, Alan E. Rowan, Roeland J.M. Nolte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The straightforward syntheses of polyisocyanides containing the alanine–cysteine motif in their side chains have been achieved. Detailed characterization of the polymers revealed a well-defined and highly stable helical conformation of the polyimine backbone responsible for the formation of rodlike structures of over one hundred nanometers. The 41 helix is further stabilized by β-sheet-like interactions between the peptide arms. As a result, the cysteine sulfur atoms are regularly aligned along the polymer axis, which provides a unique platform for the scaffolding of various entities by using versatile click-chemistry postmodification approaches. For instance, pyrene derivatives were introduced through thio-specific reactions involving either maleimide, iodoacetamide, or thioester groups, leading to arrays of stacked chromophores with excimer-like emission. A water-soluble cysteine-rich polyisocyanide was successfully biotinylated and coupled to streptavidin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6176-6186
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry : a European journal
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • METIS-273731
  • IR-77540
  • chromophoric scaffolding
  • helical structures
  • bioscaffolding
  • polyisocyanides
  • Click chemistry


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