Coassembly of aromatic dipeptides into biomolecular necklaces

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This paper describes the formation of complex peptide-based structures by the coassembly of two simple peptides, the diphenylalanine peptide and its tert-butyl dicarbonate (Boc) protected analogue. Each of these peptides can self-assemble into a distinct architecture: the diphenylalanine peptide into tubular structures and its analogue into spheres. Integrated together, these peptides coassemble into a construction of beaded strings, where spherical assemblies are connected by elongated elements. Electron and scanning force microscopy demonstrated the morphology of these structures, which we termed "biomolecular necklaces". Additional experiments indicated the reversibility of the coassembly process and the stability of the structures. Furthermore, we suggest a possible mechanism of formation for the biomolecular necklaces. Our suggestion is based on the necklace model for polyelectrolyte chains, which proposes that a necklace structure appears as a result of counterion condensation on the backbone of a polyelectrolyte. Overall, the approach of coassembly, demonstrated using aromatic peptides, can be adapted to any peptides and may lead to the development and discovery of new self-assembled architectures formed by peptides and other biomolecules.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9559-9566
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - 27 Nov 2012


  • aromatic interactions
  • diphenylalanine
  • molecular recognition
  • peptides
  • self-assembly

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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