Synthesis of short and biocompatible peptide nanotubes for therapeutic applications

Laboratory of Immunology, Immunopathology and Therapeutic Chemistry (CNRS, Strasbourg, France), in the group “Therapeutic multifunctional carbon and 2D nanomaterials” (led by Dr. Alberto Bianco), under the supervision of Dr. Cécilia Ménard-Moyon.

Team website: carbon-and-2d-nanomaterials/

Project description

Organic nanotubes are promising nanomaterials displaying many applications in nanotechnology, in particular in nanomedicine. Peptide nanotubes are a class of organic nanotubes attracting immense interest due their wide range of bio- (and other) functionalities, which leads to many potential use in nanotechnology and biomedicine. The supramolecular stacking of cyclic peptides is a versatile approach for the formation of nanotubes. Peptide nanotubes are generally very long (several micrometers) and their length is difficult to control. Up to now, one of the main limitations of most nanoparticles used in nanomedicine is their lack of size homogeneity, resulting in potential variability in terms of organ biodistribution, cellular internalization, elimination, and fate in vivo. Therefore, there is a strong need of synthesizing size-monodisperse short nanotubes that will certainly be excellent candidates for future clinical translation.

In this context, this project is centered on the synthesis of length-controlled polymer-peptide hybrid nanotubes as carriers for the delivery of an anticancer drug. For this purpose, biocompatible polymers will be conjugated to cyclic peptides and the self-assembly capacity of the polymer-peptide conjugates will be assessed. The presence of the polymer chains will put strain on the peptide core through steric repulsions, allowing to reduce the length of the nanotubes and enable their use as carriers of an anticancer drug.

The project is focused on 1) the synthesis of the cyclic peptides, 2) the conjugation of polymers, 3) the study of the self-assembly capacity of the polymer-cyclic peptides into nanotubes, 4) the loading of an anticancer drug in the nanotubes, 5) the evaluation of the pH-controlled release of the drug, and 6) the assessment of the anticancer efficacy of the conjugate in vitro (in collaboration with the biologists in the research unit).

Eligibility criteria

The candidate must have a PhD with a strong a background in organic synthesis, in particular peptide synthesis. Knowledge on supramolecular chemistry and cell biology would be appreciated.
The candidate must be an independent, well-organized and rigorous person. He / she must have good interpersonal skills. He / she must manage his own research and coordinate the different aspects of the work to meet deadlines. He / she must provide ideas for new research projects, carry out scientific bibliography, compile results for publication in peer-reviewed journals and present the results orally. He / she should actively participate in laboratory meetings.

Interested candidates must send a cover letter, a curriculum vitae and the contacts of three reference persons to Cécilia Ménard-Moyon ( before 30th September 2022.

Provisional start date: 01/12/2022 Contract for 12 months