Design and synthesis of digitally encoded polymers that can be decoded and erased.

Nature communications

PubMedID: 26006165

Roy RK, Meszynska A, Laure C, Charles L, Verchin C, Lutz JF. Design and synthesis of digitally encoded polymers that can be decoded and erased. Nat Commun. 2015;67237.
Biopolymers such as DNA store information in their chains using controlled sequences of monomers. Here we describe a non-natural information-containing macromolecule that can store and retrieve digital information. Monodisperse sequence-encoded poly(alkoxyamine amide)s were synthesized using an iterative strategy employing two chemoselective steps: the reaction of a primary amine with an acid anhydride and the radical coupling of a carbon-centred radical with a nitroxide. A binary code was implemented in the polymer chains using three monomers: one nitroxide spacer and two interchangeable anhydrides defined as 0-bit and 1-bit. This methodology allows encryption of any desired sequence in the chains. Moreover, the formed sequences are easy to decode using tandem mass spectrometry. Indeed, these polymers follow predictable fragmentation pathways that can be easily deciphered. Moreover, poly(alkoxyamine amide)s are thermolabile. Thus, the digital information encrypted in the chains can be erased by heating the polymers in the solid state or in solution.