How to create polymers with protein-like capabilities: A theoretical suggestion

Vijay S. Pande, Alexander Yu Grosberg, Toyoichi Tanaka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The synthesis of a man-made polymer capable of functioning in a protein-like fashion can be of tremendous technological importance, and may also shed light on the natural creation of the molecular basis of life. In case of proteins, the unique 3D fold, responsible for the particular functionality of the molecule, is determined by the particular sequence of monomer units. We suggest a procedure, which we call imprinting, to control the monomer sequence of an artificial heteropolymer during its synthesis in order to obtain a heteropolymer with the protein-like properties of quick and reliable renaturability to some unique spatial fold capable of certain functional properties. To control the sequence formation, our procedure employs interactions between monomers. We will show that this leads to renaturable chains, because renaturation is governed exactly by the same interactions between monomer units. We present here both analytical and computational study of imprinting, yielding the requirements on the set of monomers chosen and further more specific prescriptions for the experimental verification of this theory.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)316-321
    Number of pages6
    JournalPhysica D: Nonlinear Phenomena
    Issue number2-4
    StatePublished - 1997


    • Heteropolymers
    • Origin of life
    • Protein folding

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
    • Mathematical Physics
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Applied Mathematics


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