Molecular Replication Process Drives Supramolecular Polymerization
Polymers are useful but have several flaws. They are based on covalent bonds, which once destroyed cannot be reassembled easily. Supramolecular polymers use noncovalent bonds to form polymers that are capable of self-healing. To create these bonds, quadruple hydrogen bonding is used. Secondary reactions based on proximity hydrogen bonding contribute to the structural design for these molecules.DNA replication relies on hydrogen bonding between nucleotides, similar to the structure of supramolecular polymers. A minimal model of self-replication is being developed by Yuanning’s group, using autocatalysis processes. This is essentially a ‘synthetic DNA’ process, minus several features. Diffusion-ordered spectroscopy nuclear magnetic resonance (DOSY NMR) was used to characterize the reaction progression. X-Ray diffraction and Scanning Electron Microscopy were used to characterize the output microcrystallites. This proof of concept can be used later to help design molecular machines using biomimicry of DNA structure and bonding mechanisms.
Further collaboration with physicists or biologists to help solve the logic of designing a complex self-replicating polymerization system.