Synthetic polypeptides from the ring-opening polymerization of N-carboxyanhydrides (NCAs) are one of the most important biomaterials. The unique features of these synthetic polypeptides, including their chemical diversity of side chains and their ability to form secondary structures, enable their broad applications in the field of gene delivery, drug delivery, bio-imaging, tissue engineering, and antimicrobials. In this review article, we summarize the recent advances in the design of polypeptide-based supramolecular structures, including complexes with nucleic acids, micelles, vesicles, hybrid nanoparticles, and hydrogels. We also highlight the progress in the chemical design of functional polypeptides, which plays a crucial role to manipulate their assembly behaviours and optimize their biomedical performances. Finally, we conclude the review by discussing the future opportunities in this field, including further studies on the secondary structures and cost-effective synthesis of polypeptide materials.
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