Research NewsOrganic Chemistry

Polymer Folds Just Like a Protein

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Science  19 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5333, pp. 1764
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5333.1764

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On page 1793, researchers report a big step to a long-sought goal: making synthetic polymers that behave like proteins. They have synthesized a polymer from the hydrocarbon phenylacetylene and shown that, in solution, it coils into a helix, one of the basic folding motifs of proteins. The achievement may lead both to new types of tailor-made molecules that can reproduce protein activities and also to a better understanding of the forces that cause proteins to fold up.