Relaxation of a self-assembled structure of 144 peptide amphiphile (PA) molecules into cylindrical nanofibers is studied using atomistic molecular dynamics simulations including explicit water with physiological ion concentration. The PA for these studies includes a hydrophobic alkyl chain that is attached to the N-terminus of the sequence SLSLAAAEIKVAV. The self-assembly is initiated with PA molecules in a roughly cylindrical configuration, as suggested from previous experimental and theoretical investigations, and the cylindrical configuration that results is found to be stable during 40 ns simulations. In the converged structure of the resulting nanofiber, the cylinder radius is ∼44 Å, a result that is consistent with experimental results. Water and sodium ions can penetrate into the peptide portion of the fiber but not between the alkyl chains. Even though each PA has an identical sequence, a broad distribution of secondary structure is found in the converged structure of the nanofiber. The β-sheet population for the SLSL and IKV segments of the peptide is ∼25%, which is consistent with previous circular dichroism results. We also found that the epitope sequence IKVAV is located on the surface of the nanofiber, as designed for the promotion of the neurite growth. Our findings will be useful for designing new PA fibers that have improved bioactive properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry