Actin Mimetic ATP Driven Controlled Supramolecular Polymerization

Student of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Ananya Mishra won the award for a research work of Actin Mimetic ATP Driven Controlled Supramolecular Polymerization. She carried her project work under the guidance of Prof. Subi J. George.

The need of supramolecular systems with increased complexity and structural control is growing in the direction of intriguing functions similar to their biological analogues like DNA and cells. The question, “How far can we push self-assembly?” is recognized as one of the biggest-challenges in supramolecular material science. This work describes a synthetic organic molecule, oligophenylene vinylene functionalized with dipicolyl ethylene diamine (OPVDPA), coming together and stacking on each other in a helical sense on electrostatic interaction with a biological cue, ATP.

This process is very close to events occurring in nature that notably help a cell to maintain its shape, i.e. actin, which undergoes ATP driven temporal polymerization and dynamic instability. The study has come closest in synthetically mimicking this natural process. We have employed the facets of supramolecular chemistry as the area of investigation in this study, which deals with the interplay of non-covalent interactions for self-assembly. Though in synthetic systems it is a fairly new field, most biological processes function are based on these principles. In this context, systems driven by ATP became an inspiration for the team to work further. These systems are uniquely size-controlled over kinetic regimes which allow fascinating stimuli responsiveness and adaptability that could not have been achieved in synthetic systems before. Since the stimulus, in this case, is one of the most ubiquitously present chemicals such as ATP, therefore the study is a benchmark for what can be achieved synthetically. Furthermore as mentioned earlier the prospect of functional accessibility also makes the work more interesting.

The Hon’ble Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu awarded the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award to Ananya Mishra, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research at the GYTI 2019 Awards function held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on July 06, 2019.

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