The process of amyloid nanofibril formation has broad implications including the generation of the strongest natural materials, namely silk fibers, and their major contribution to the progression of many degenerative diseases. The key question that remains unanswered is whether the amyloidogenic nature, which includes the characteristic H-bonded β-sheet structure and physical characteristics of protein assemblies, can be modified via controlled intervention of the molecular interactions. Here we show that tailored changes in molecular interactions, specifically in the H-bonded network, do not affect the nature of amyloidogenic fibrillation, and even have minimal effect on the initial nucleation events of self-assembly. However, they do trigger changes in networks at a higher hierarchical level, namely enhanced 2D packaging which is rationalized by the 3D hierarchy of β-sheet assembly, leading to variations in fibril morphology, structural composition and, remarkably, nanomechanical properties. These results pave the way to a better understanding of the role of molecular interactions in sculpting the structural and physical properties of protein supramolecular constructs.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Chemistry
- Environmental Chemistry