Functionalized polypeptides have attracted tremendous interest in recent years and found many stimulating applications due to their tunable physicochemical characteristics including hydrophilicity and stimuli-responsive behavior. The development of new strategies to produce these polymers without metallic contaminants is crucial for their applications in high-value and sensitive domains, such as biomedical, microelectronic, food packaging and personal beauty care fields. Herein, a highly efficient strategy to access well-defined site-specific functionalized polypeptides is developed by combining Michael reaction with hydrogen-bonding organocatalytic ROP of NCA. A library of chain-end and chain-middle functionalized polypeptides (14 examples) with predesigned molecular weights and low polydispersities are readily prepared with this approach. Specifically, the whole synthetic process is metal-free, fulfilling high activity and selectivity at room temperature.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: This work is supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21774071) and Natural Science Foundation of Shaanxi University of Science and Technology (No. 2017QNBJ-07). W. Z. thanks the support from the Youth Hundred-Talent Program of Shaanxi Province (No.SXBR9227), the National High-Level Foreign Expert Project (No.GDT20186100425), Biomass Chemistry and Materials Academician Workstation Project in SUST (No.134090002) and Northwest Polytechnic University High-Performance Computing and Development Center. N. H. acknowledges the support of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.