PROJECT 01-607




Sequence design of bioinspired copolymers with functionality on the nano-metre scale




July 1, 2002 June 30, 2005




Co-ordinator -  Professor H.Tenhu





We adopt a biomimetic approach to design sequences in synthetic copolymers. In particular, we investigate the possibilities to obtain "protein-like" copolymers which remain soluble in aqueous medium after transition to the globular state. To achieve this aim, the formed globule should have a hydrophobic core surrounded by stabilizing hydrophilic "corona". Such nano-scale organisation can be realized experimentally only for special copolymer sequences. Several synthetic approaches are proposed. These approaches will be tested in the collaborative work of four experimental and four theoretical and computer simulation groups. The computational work will focus on the effect of the presence of solvent or charged monomer units. The theoretical work will deal with chemical reactions from hydrophilic to hydrophobic groups, as well as put special emphasis on the fundamental problem of different ways of evolution of sequences, namely "ascending" and "descending" branches of biological evolution.


The main aims of the project are:

1) to undertake a detailed investigation of a number of methods to design non-random sequences of monomer units in copolymers with special emphasis on biomimetic approaches;

2) to propose physical models of macromolecules that mimick some of the most fundamental principles of functioning of biopolymers on the nano-metre scale and to investigate the possibilities to obtain synthetic polymers that possess some of the functional properties of biopolymers;

3) to formulate and apply various new methods for the synthesis of copolymers with sophisticated functional properties;

4) to to carry over theoretical ideas for the synthesis of functional macromolecules to the chemical laboratory.



We hope that these studies will permit to shed light on understanding the principles of evolution of sequences of biological macromolecules at early stages of this evolution.










Eight research teams (three from INTAS members and five from Russia) will be involved in the project. Different synthetic and experimental techniques (free-radical polymerization, dynamic light scattering, thermoturbidimetry, NMR spectroscopy, high-sensitivity differential scanning calorimetry etc.) will be used.




Heikki Tenhu

University of Helsinki, Department of Chemistry,

Laboratory of Polymer Chemistry,

FIN-00014 Helsinki




Gerard Fleer


Wageningen University

Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science

6703 HB Wageningen



Priv.Doz. Dr.

Wolfgang Paul

University of Mainz,

Institute of Physics,

55099 Mainz




Alexei Khokhlov

Chair of Polymer and Crystal Physics

Physics Department

Moscow State University

Vorobyovy Gory, 117234 Moscow




Pavel Khalatur

Tver State University,

Department of Physical Chemistry,

Sadovy per. 35, 170002 Tver




Semion Kuchanov

Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics,

Laboratory of Mathematical Modeling,

Polymer modeling group,

Miusskaya Square 4, 125047 Moscow




Vladimir Lozinsky

A.N.Nesmeyanov Institute of Organoelement Compounds,

Laboratory of Cryochemistry of (Bio)Polymers,

Vavilov St. 28, 119991 Moscow,




Valerii Grinberg

N.M.Emanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics,

Laboratory of Protein Systems,

Vavilov St. 28, 119991 Moscow,














A.V.Chertovich, V.A.Ivanov, B.G.Zavin, A.R.Khokhlov, Conformation-Dependent Sequence Design of HP-Copolymers: an Algorithm Based on Sequential Modification of Monomer Units, Macromol.Theory Simul., v.11, p.751 (2002).