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Tectomers are oligomers or macromolecules of α-amino acids linked by peptide bonds. A significant feature of tectomers is their rich hierarchical structure. The R substituent sequence of the side chain constitutes the primary structure of the tectomers. Through the hydrogen bonding of the main chain, the tectomers can also form α helix, β folding and other secondary structures. Furthermore, tectomers with different functional groups on side chain can form accurate tertiary structures, which uses dynamic covalent bonds, such as disulfide bonds, and a variety of non-covalent interactions, such as hydrogen bonds, van der Waals forces, π-π stacking and the others.


Taking the advantages of their unique structural characteristics and good biomimetic properties, tectomers have wide application prospects in the fields of biomedicine, biotechnology, tissue engineering and drug transportation.

  • Biomedicine field: Because of their small molecular weight, no immunogenicity, relative safety, easy synthesis, low cost and low side effects, tectomers can be used in the biomedicine field. Many stimuli-responsive systems in the biomedicine field can be designed based on tectomers.
  • The stimuli-responsive systems for biomedicine field.Figure 1. The stimuli-responsive systems for biomedicine field.

  • Functional food field: Food has the function of regulating human physiology. Adding suitable tectomers to food has the functions of promoting digestion and absorption, lowering blood pressure, blood lipid and cholesterol, etc.
  • Cosmetics Industry: Tectomers are widely used in the cosmetics industry and have the functions of wrinkle resistance, aging resistance, etc. Tectomers have high biological activity and biodiversity, and are involved in the anabolism and catabolism of proteins in organisms. Tectomers can actively regulate the synthesis and secretion of proteins inside and outside cells, ensuring the expression and replication of genetic genes, and enhancing the metabolism of tissues and cells, so as to achieve anti-aging effect.
  • The others: In addition to the fields described in detail above, tectomers are also widely used in other fields, such as scientific research and others.


There are many ways to classify tectomers. For example, tectomers can be divided into homo -tectomers and heter - tectomers based on the molecular structure.

Production processes:

The preparation methods of tectomers mainly include solid-state reaction method and ring-opening of N-carboxylic anhydride (NCA) method.

  • Solid-state reaction method: This method has been applied in producing tectomers on a large scale. First, the amino acid end group of peptide chain is loaded to a resin. Then, under suitable conditions, condensation–deprotection–condensation reaction will occur repeatedly. Finally, by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) purifying, the final product can be obtained.
  • Ring-opening of N-carboxylic anhydride (NCA) method: Ring-opening of N-carboxylic anhydride (NCA) method is a new method, which can make up for the deficiency of solid synthesis method. Furthermore, functional tectomers can be easily obtained by introducing different reactive groups in R sits of the side chain.


  1. Leuchs H. Ueber die Glycin‐carbonsure[J]. Berichte Der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft, 1906, 39.
  2. Daeyong L, Rejinold N, Seong J, et al. Stimuli-Responsive Polypeptides for Biomedical Applications[J]. Polymers, 2018, 10(8).
  3. Merrifield R B J . Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis. I. The Synthesis of a Tetrapeptide[J]. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1963, 85(14).

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