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Environment

Revamped Molecular Transporters Shine

November 19, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 47

Molecular transporters, which deliver attached cargo such as drugs or proteins into cells, commonly feature positively charged arginine or other guanidinium-containing components. In a new report, Alanna Schepartz and Douglas S. Daniels at Yale University describe novel types of molecular transporters made from arginine and proline units that outperform some arginine-only transporters (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 14578). The proline imparts secondary structure that the arginine-only transporters don't have. The team's best transporters contain five or six repeating PRR units, where P is proline and R is arginine. The five-unit transporter matches the performance of the corresponding arginine-only transporter with 10 arginines, and the six-unit transporter outperforms the equivalent 12-arginine transporter. The researchers incorporated the transporters into a small protein in order to successfully deliver it into cells.

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