Compressing small peptides for cell absorption (2018–2020)
The aim is to understand how to make small structured peptides cell permeable. The significance is that short peptides matching bioactive protein surfaces have no structure in water and do not enter cells, where most biological reactions occur. This project will compress peptides into very small coiled structures and systematically vary cyclic restraints, physicochemical properties and location of components to increase cell uptake by different mechanisms. An expected outcome is new knowledge for predicting structures that make peptides cell permeable without membrane damage. A new capacity to rationally downsize proteins to small, cell permeable, structured peptides is anticipated to permit many new biological and industrial applications.