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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12(9), 5736-5746; doi:10.3390/ijms12095736

Ultrasmall Peptides Self-Assemble into Diverse Nanostructures: Morphological Evaluation and Potential Implications

Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, 31 Biopolis Way, The Nanos 138669, Singapore
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Received: 1 July 2011 / Revised: 9 August 2011 / Accepted: 22 August 2011 / Published: 7 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Self-Assembly 2011)
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Abstract

In this study, we perform a morphological evaluation of the diverse nanostructures formed by varying concentration and amino acid sequence of a unique class of ultrasmall self-assembling peptides. We modified these peptides by replacing the aliphatic amino acid at the C-aliphatic terminus with different aromatic amino acids. We tracked the effect of introducing aromatic residues on self-assembly and morphology of resulting nanostructures. Whereas aliphatic peptides formed long, helical fibers that entangle into meshes and entrap >99.9% water, the modified peptides contrastingly formed short, straight fibers with a flat morphology. No helical fibers were observed for the modified peptides. For the aliphatic peptides at low concentrations, different supramolecular assemblies such as hollow nanospheres and membrane blebs were found. Since the ultrasmall peptides are made of simple, aliphatic amino acids, considered to have existed in the primordial soup, study of these supramolecular assemblies could be relevant to understanding chemical evolution leading to the origin of life on Earth. In particular, we propose a variety of potential applications in bioengineering and nanotechnology for the diverse self-assembled nanostructures. View Full-Text
Keywords: ultrasmall peptides; self-assembly; bioengineering; nanotechnology; supramolecular structures; origin of life ultrasmall peptides; self-assembly; bioengineering; nanotechnology; supramolecular structures; origin of life
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lakshmanan, A.; Hauser, C.A. Ultrasmall Peptides Self-Assemble into Diverse Nanostructures: Morphological Evaluation and Potential Implications. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12, 5736-5746.

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