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Multi-responsive polypeptide hydrogels derived from N-carboxyanhydride terpolymerizations for delivery of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugsA polypeptide-based hydrogel system, when prepared from a diblock polymer with a ternary copolypeptide as one block, exhibited thermo-, mechano- and enzyme-responsive properties, which enabled the encapsulation of naproxen (Npx) during the sol–gel transition and its release in the gel state. Statistical terpolymerizations of l -alanine (Ala), glycine (Gly) and l -isoleucine (Ile) NCAs at a 1 : 1 : 1 feed ratio initiated by monomethoxy monoamino-terminated poly(ethylene glycol) afforded a series of methoxy poly(ethylene glycol)- block -poly( l -alanine- co -glycine- co - l -isoleucine) (mPEG- b -P(A-G-I)) block polymers. β-Sheets were the dominant secondary structures within the polypeptide segments, which facilitated a heat-induced sol-to-gel transition, resulting from the supramolecular assembly of β-sheets into nanofibrils. Deconstruction of the three-dimensional networks by mechanical force (sonication) triggered the reverse gel-to-sol transition. Certain enzymes could accelerate the breakdown of the hydrogel, as determined by in vitro gel weight loss profiles. The hydrogels were able to encapsulate and release Npx over 6 days, demonstrating the potential application of these polypeptide hydrogels as an injectable local delivery system for small molecule drugs.
Reversible photo-patterning of soft conductive materials via spatially-defined supramolecular assemblyA strategy for reversible patterning of soft conductive materials is described, based upon a combination of peptide-based block copolymer hydrogelators and photo-thermally-active carbon nanotubes. This composite displays photo-responsive gelation at application-relevant timescales (<10 s), allowing for rapid and spatially-defined construction of conductive patterns (>100 S m −1 ), which, additionally, hold the capability to revert to sol upon sonication for reprocessing.