Self-assembly and responsiveness of polypeptide-based block copolymers: How “Smart” behavior and topological complexity yield unique assembly in aqueous media



Polypeptide-based amphiphilic block copolymers are an attractive class of materials given their ability to form well-defined aqueous nanoassemblies that respond to external stimulus through secondary structure transitions. This report will highlight recent literature in the area of polypeptide-based block copolymer self-assembly, with the major focus being on how the responsive nature and structural complexity of the polypeptide blocks can be incorporated into systems with complex topologies such as ABA/BAB/ABC triblock copolymers, AB2 and A2B star copolymers, and miktoarm μ-ABC star terpolymers. In particular, the role of interfacial curvature changes and how they result in morphology transitions will be discussed. The ‘smart’ assembly properties of peptides in complex block copolymer topologies can lead to enhanced responsiveness, morphological complexity, and unique morphological transitions with varying solution conditions. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part B: Polym Phys, 2013