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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Synthesis and enzymatic degradation of optically active depsipeptide copolymers.

This paper describes the synthesis and biodegradation of copolymers of cyclic depsipeptide with epsilon-caprolactone (CL) or lactide (LA). Optically active cyclic depsipeptides, 3,6-dimethyl-2,5-morpholinediones (DMOs), were prepared by the reaction of an amino acid (D-, L-, or DL-alanine) with a hydroxy acid derivative (DL-2-bromopropionyl bromide). These isomers are abbreviated as D-DMO, L-DMO and DL-DMO respectively, according to the names of alanine isomers. Then, we have prepared the copolymers of DMO isomers with CL using tin(II) octylate as a catalyst. The NMR spectra and thermal properties of DMO/CL copolymers revealed that these copolymers exist randomly. The enzymatic degradation of the copolymers has been examined using Rhizopus delemar lipase, cholesterol esterase (from Pseudomonas sp.), and Proteinase K (from Tritirachium album). Cholesterol esterase and Proteinase K show high degradability, while the lipase shows little degradation. Among the enzymes used, only Proteinase K could recognize the isomerism of DMO, resulting in the following order of degradability: copoly(L-DMO/CL) > copoly(DL-DMO/CL) > copoly(D-DMO/CL), i.e. this enzyme has the highest substrate specificity for naturally occurring L-alanine. Further, we have prepared the random copolymers of L-DMO with lactide (L-LA or DL-LA), and evaluated the enzymatic degradation of the copolymers by Proteinase K. The introduction of a small amount (up to c. 10 mol%) of L-DMO unit into LA homopolymers brought about greater degradability compared with LA homopolymers. In particular, L-DMO/L-LA copolymers with high degradability have been obtained without significant decrease in the mechanical and thermal properties of L-LA homopolymer.[1]


  1. Synthesis and enzymatic degradation of optically active depsipeptide copolymers. Shirahama, H., Umemoto, K., Yasuda, H. Journal of biomaterials science. Polymer edition. (1999) [Pubmed]
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