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Pure Appl. Chem., 2009, Vol. 81, No. 2, pp. 273-284

Chemical control of biomolecular interaction modules

Frank Altenbrunn1, Tom N. Grossmann1, Christian Haase1, Franziska Mende1, Lars Röglin2, Stefanie Thurley1 and Oliver Seitz1

1 Institute for Chemistry, Humboldt University, Brook-Taylor-Str. 2, D-12489 Berlin, Germany
2 Laboratory of Chemical Biology, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Abstract: The mutual recognition of biomacromolecules often is mediated by dedicated interaction modules. We take two main approaches in order to recognize and control nucleic acid-nucleic acid, protein-protein, and protein-nucleic acid interactions. In one, the rules that govern the formation of nucleic acid structures are used to design molecules that respond to the presence of nucleic acid or protein targets by showing changes of conformation or reactivity. For example, hybrid molecules can transduce changes of nucleic acid structure to changes of peptide structure, and vice versa. The other approach takes advantage of protein domains that once may form the basis of sensor materials and control elements. However, the current chemical synthesis methods have still not reached the level of maturity required to provide routine access to folded protein domains. In this article, we also describe recent progress that may facilitate the chemical synthesis of protein interaction domains.