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Polymers 2017, 9(10), 500;

Synthesis and Application of Aurophilic Poly(Cysteine) and Poly(Cysteine)-Containing Copolymers

Department of Chemistry, University of Alabama, 301 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35899, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 September 2017 / Revised: 5 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From Amphiphilic to Polyphilic Polymers)
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The redox capacity, as well as the aurophilicity of the terminal thiol side groups, in poly(Cysteine) lend a unique characteristic to this poly(amino acid) or polypeptide. There are two major application fields for this polymer: (i) biomedical applications in drug delivery and surface modification of biomedical devices and (ii) as coating for electrodes to enhance their electrochemical sensitivity. The intended application determines the synthetic route for p(Cysteine). Polymers to be used in biomedical applications are typically polymerized from the cysteine N-carboxyanhydride by a ring-opening polymerization, where the thiol group needs to be protected during the polymerization. Advances in this methodology have led to conditions under which the polymerization progresses as living polymerization, which allows for a strict control of the molecular architecture, molecular weight and polydispersity and the formation of block copolymers, which eventually could display polyphilic properties. Poly(Cysteine) used as electrode coating is typically polymerized onto the electrode by cyclic voltammetry, which actually produces a continuous, pinhole-free film on the electrode via the formation of covalent bonds between the amino group of Cysteine and the carbon of the electrode. This resulting coating is chemically very different from the well-defined poly(Cysteine) obtained by ring-opening polymerizations. Based on the structure of cysteine a significant degree of cross-linking within the coating deposited by cyclic voltammetry can be assumed. This manuscript provides a detailed discussion of the ring-opening polymerization of cysteine, a brief consideration of the role of glutathione, a key cysteine-containing tripeptide, and examples for the utilization of poly(Cysteine) and poly(Cysteine)-containing copolymers, in both, the biomedical as well as electrochemical realm. View Full-Text
Keywords: aurophilic; poly(amino acid)s; poly(l-cysteine); drug delivery; surface modification; electrochemical based detection aurophilic; poly(amino acid)s; poly(l-cysteine); drug delivery; surface modification; electrochemical based detection

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ulkoski, D.; Scholz, C. Synthesis and Application of Aurophilic Poly(Cysteine) and Poly(Cysteine)-Containing Copolymers. Polymers 2017, 9, 500.

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