Selfreplicating polymersomes


In recent years, some examples have emerged in the literature on chemical systems with self-reproducing properties. While these model systems are seen by biologists as a possible explanation how evolution of prebiotic life could have taken place, it is for synthetic chemists a challenge to design "smart" molecules with intrinsically information buried in their structure. This information can then be used to let the molecules self-assemble in a desired fashion or even reproducing perfect copies of the original molecule or system.

The aim of this proposal is the development of self-replicating polymeric vesicles (polymersomes) as a first step toward polymeric materials resembling artificial life.

Amphiphilic block copolymers containing a hydrophobic polyisoprene block will be coupled to a hydrophilic peptide block. The latter part will be able to form either b-sheet structures or coiled-coil structures based on a-helices. Large assemblies like micelles or vesicles will be formed in aqueous solutions depending on the ratio between the hydrophobic and the hydrophilic part of the amphiphile. The second part of this study will focus on the self-replicating properties of the polymeric amphiphiles and the formation of self-replicating vesicular systems. The self-replication of amphiphilic block copolymers has not been studied before and will have an impact in the field of material sciences and supramolecular chemistry.

Keywords: Self-replication, Autocatalytic; Vesicles; Polymersomes; Peptides.


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. A. Kros

Affiliated with

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit der Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen, Leiden Institute of Chemistry

Team members

Dr. A. Kros


01/03/2004 to 15/10/2007