Decoding the Rules for Biopolymer Mutualism Open Access

Poppitz, George (Spring 2023)

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The interaction between nucleic-acid and amino-acid-based biopolymers is essential for the development of modern cellular life. However, despite decades of investigation, it remains unclear how life originated and how this mutualistic interaction came to exist. Biomolecular condensates are an exciting avenue for exploring this question due to their commonality in biology, but their widely varied composition means new models must be developed. Building on decades of work with peptide models of aggregation, we investigated the co-assembly of peptides and nucleic acids to study how electrostatic interactions underpin their ability of peptides and nucleic acids to assemble. Following this, comparisons between different nucleic acid conformations revealed a bias towards structures with a higher density of negative charges. To confirm this, a cyclic polyanion was used to discover new rules for how the selection of different assembly structures functions. 

Table of Contents

Introduction                                                                                                                        1

Methods                                                                                                                               8

Results and Discussion                                                                                                         14

Conclusion                                                                                                                            27

References                                                                                                                            29

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