Tuning Supramolecular Rigidity of Peptide Fibers through Molecular Structure

E. Thomas Pashuck, Honggang Cui, Samuel I Stupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

216 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We synthesized a series of peptide amphiphiles (PAs) with systematically modified amino acid sequences to control the mechanical properties of the nanofiber gels they form by self-assembly. By manipulating the number and position of valines and alanines in the peptide sequence, we found that valines increase the stiffness of the gel, while additional alanines decrease the mechanical properties. Vitreous ice cryo-transmission electron microscopy shows that all PA molecules investigated here form nanofibers 8-10 nm in diameter and several micrometers in length. We found through Fourier transform IR experiments a strong correlation between gel stiffness and hydrogen bond alignment along the long axis of the fiber. Molecules that form supramolecular structures with the highest mechanical stiffness were found by circular dichroism to self-assemble into β-sheets with the least amount of twisting and disorder, a result that is consistent with IR experiments. Molecular control of mechanical stiffness in three-dimensional artificial peptide amphiphile matrices offers a chemical strategy to control biological phenomena such as stem cell differentiation and cell morphology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6041-6046
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Volume132
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 5 2010

Fingerprint

Molecular Structure
Rigidity
Molecular structure
Amphiphiles
Peptides
Tuning
Stiffness
Nanofibers
Gels
Fibers
Valine
Alanine
Cryoelectron Microscopy
Biological Phenomena
Mechanical properties
Molecules
Ice
Dichroism
Fourier Analysis
Circular Dichroism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Catalysis
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

Cite this

Tuning Supramolecular Rigidity of Peptide Fibers through Molecular Structure. / Pashuck, E. Thomas; Cui, Honggang; Stupp, Samuel I.

In: Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 132, No. 17, 05.05.2010, p. 6041-6046.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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