Engineering peptides into superglues selective for target proteins (2016–2018)
Life on earth is defined by how proteins interact with one another. These interactions are often concentrated on protein surfaces in small regions called hot spots. Small synthetic peptides, locked in the same shapes (helices, loops) present in these hot spots, can have the same potent biological actions as proteins. However, such peptides have short durations of action which limit their usefulness. This project aims to develop ways of engineering peptide shapes into nanoscale superglues that stick more tightly but selectively to their target proteins, thereby extending their durations of action. Technology for engineering superglues will produce proof of concept and prototypes for future research tools, drugs, diagnostics and biosensors.