Many biological processes, such as transmembrane signaling and pathogen- host interactions, are initiated by a protein recognizing a specific pattern of binding sites on part of a membrane or cell surface. By recognition, we imply that the polymer quickly finds and then adsorbs strongly on the pattern-matched region and not on others. The development of synthetic systems that can mimic such recognition between polymers and surfaces could have significant impact on advanced applications such as the development of sensors, molecular-scale separation processes, and synthetic viral inhibition agents. Attempting to affect recognition in synthetic systems by copying the detailed chemistries to which nature has been led over millenia of evolution does not seem practical for most applications. This leads us to the following question: Are there any universal strategies that can affect recognition between polymers and surfaces? Such generic strategies may be easier to implement in abiotic applications. We describe results that suggest that biomimetic recognition between synthetic polymers and surfaces is possible by exploiting certain generic strategies, and we elucidate the kinetic mechanisms by which this occurs. Our results suggest convenient model systems for experimental studies of dynamics in free energy landscapes characteristic of frustrated systems.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - 12 Oct 1999|