A supramolecular conjugate of myoglobin (Mb) and water-soluble poly(acrylate), (PA5k and PA25k, where 5k and 25k represent the molecular weight of the polymers, respectively), is constructed on the basis of a noncovalent heme-heme pocket interaction. The modified heme with an amino group linked to the terminus of one of the heme-propionates is coupled to the side-chain carboxyl groups of poly(acrylate) activated by N-hydroxysuccinimide. The ratios of the heme-modified monomer unit and the unmodified monomer unit (m:n) in the polymer chains of Heme-PA5k and Heme-PA25k were determined to be 4.5:95.5 and 3.1:96.9, respectively. Subsequent addition of apoMb to the conjugated polymers provides Mb-connected fibrous nanostructures confirmed by atomic force microscopy. A mixture of the heme-modified polymer and dimeric apomyoglobin as a cross-linker forms a microgel in which the reconstituted myoglobin retains its native exogenous ligand binding activity.
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