The design and synthesis of functional biomimetic water soluble polymers with a defined secondary structure has been developed using β-sheet polyisocyanopeptide scaffolds. Water soluble isocyanopolymers were prepared by random copolymerisation of the azido functionalized isocyanopeptides with nonfunctionalised methyl ester isocyanides derived from alanine. Upon saponification of the latter function a rigid rod water soluble polymer was obtained with an accessible azide for postfunctionalization. The potential of these biomimetic polymers was successfully demonstrated by using the click chemistry reaction of these polymers with an acetylene functionalised rhodamine dye. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem 47: 4150–4164, 2009
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