Branched peptide amphiphile (PA) molecules bearing biological epitopes were designed and synthesized using orthogonal protecting group chemistry on amine groups at lysine residues. These molecules self-assemble into high-aspect-ratio cylindrical nanofibers, and their branched architecture enhances accessibility of epitopes for protein binding and also allows the presentation of more than one epitope in a single molecule. The RGDS cell adhesion epitope was used as a model bioactive signal on PA molecules for potential biomedical applications. Aggregation of the branched PA molecules into nanofibers was demonstrated by TEM and through shifts in the protonation profiles of peripheral amines. These systems also formed self-supporting gels in the presence of physiological fluids and other biologically relevant macromolecules such as synovial fluid and DNA, an important property for their potential use in medicine. Fluorescence anisotropy measurements on the PAs with tryptophan residues were performed to examine the effect of branching on packing and mobility of the peptides in the self-assembled nanofibers. The mobility of tryptophan residues was observed to be restricted upon packing of PA molecules into nanofibers. However, relative to linear analogues, branched molecules retain more mobility in the supramolecular aggregates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry