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Star-shaped peptides are a promising biomaterial being proposed for use in nanomedicine. While star peptides have conventionally been synthesised in vitro, the University of Melbourne iGEM team aims to use the peptide-synthesis machinery of E. coli to produce peptides in vivo. Star peptide precursors will be expressed as heterologous proteins in E. coli. Further processing using both the protein folding enzymes of E. coli and simple in vitro chemical synthesis techniques will yield star peptides. The products will be designed such that the arms of the stars may be functionalised with peptides, proteins, and other biomacromolecules. Thus, the project will develop a novel and powerful platform technology for the synthesis of new biomaterials. The technology developed may be readily applied in a variety of biomedical contexts, including drug delivery, infection control and cancer treatment.

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