Characterization of Synthetic Peptides for Use as an Artificial Oxygen Transporting Material
Blood uses a protein called hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Currently, in cases of blood transfusions, donated blood is used by hospitals and Emergency Medical Services. However, this process is fraught with complications including maintaining the precise storage conditions, a relatively short storage life, and contamination risk. The purpose of this project is to create a simpler, synthetic version of hemoglobin that can bind oxygen efficiently which could be used in emergency situations reliably without the complications that accompany natural blood. The project involved testing various hydrophobic series of peptides and characterizing which best mimics hemoglobin. Peptides are synthesized by a solid-phase peptide synthesis protocol and purified through High-Performance Liquid Chromatography. Samples were characterized by testing for redox potential through redox titration, temperature-dependent stability through Differential Scanning Calorimetry, and structure through Circular Dichroism and Atomic Force Microscopy. The peptides were found to be in fiber form and the lysine-leucine peptide series that was tested generally had redox potentials with increased affinity to oxygen than hemoglobin. If the synthesized peptides are resilient and carry oxygen, it could pave the way for a reliable alternate to human blood and save the lives of patients with limited time.
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