January 2019- June 2022
The concept of ‘molecular imprinting’ emerged in the 1930’s and thanks to its conceptual simplicity, it always attracted a tremendous interest of many scientific communities. The goal is to obtain the hollow shape of a molecule (i.e. ‘template ‘) in a three-dimensional matrix. The template is then removed from the material to give the empty cavities, which are now able to selectively capture the initial object (i.e. the template molecule). These molecular imprints were obtained either inside a material (e.g. hydrogel, macroporous matrix etc.) or on the surface of a substrate. Both organic or inorganic polymerization of monomeric precursors have been used to prepare imprinted materials. However, most of precursors (monomers) commonly used for molecular imprinting are organic ones that react between them by free radical polymerization.
In this sense, the objective of Peptimprint is to set-up a ground-breaking technology to prepare highly specific tridimensional and functionalized imprints of biomolecules (peptides, proteins) by template-assembly, but in this case following the inorganic polymerization by sol-gel process. For that, a variety of original hybrid building blocks mimicking amino acids (diketopiperazine) will be synthetised and developed to be used as precursors (functional monomers) in the MIP synthesis. Unfunctionalized blocks (e.g. tetraethoxysilane (TEOS), methyltriethoxysilane, dimethyldiethoxysilane, bis(triethoxysilyl) ethylene, mono-silylated PEG or bis-silylated PEG) will be also used concomitantly to create the network. Once the template molecule removed, the hollow cavities will be able to capture the biomolecule which was previously imprinted with very high selectivity and affinity. Indeed, unlike classical molecular imprint polymers (MIPs), the resulting inorganic/bioorganic hybrid material will recapitulate not only the shape but also the complementary functions of the biomolecular template.
This project is developed in collaboration with team “Analytic Sciences of Biomolecules & Molecular Modelling” of the Institute of Biomolecules Max Mousseron (IBMM), the team “Molecular Chemistry and Solid-state Organization (CMOS)” of the Institute Charles Gerhardt (ICG), the team “Optomicrofluidique (POMM)” from the Charles Coulomb laboratory of the University of Montpellier, and the team interactions of the “Institut de Recherche en Cancérologie de Montpellier” (IRCM).