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Bioconjugate materials for the study of pigment mobility in light-harvesting systems, protein-based formulations for hydrophobic actives, and conformational changes in conjugate vaccines

  • Author(s): Jaffe, Jake;
  • Advisor(s): Francis, Matthew B;
  • et al.

Techniques for the preparation, purification, and characterization of protein-based materials have allowed for advances in fields ranging from medicine to materials science. While great attention has been paid to the chemistries used in the attachment of molecules of interest to proteins, the importance of the linking group is often overlooked. Each chapter of this dissertation describes the use of linkers as functional design elements in three distinct projects. In Chapter One, the development and characterization of a minimal model for investigating the role of pigment mobility in photosynthetic light-harvesting antenna systems will be discussed. In this model system, pigment-protein and pigment-pigment interactions were altered through the use of pigment-protein linkers of various lengths and rigidities. Chapter Two explores new biocompatible bond cleavage reactions for the preparation of a new class of general protein-based formulations for hydrophobic actives, wherein the linker group imparts the critical properties to the system. Chapter Three will examine conformational changes in peptide-protein conjugate vaccines. The roles of specific methods of covalent modification and linker composition in these conformational changes are emphasized.

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