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Self-assembly, nematic phase formation and organocatalytic behaviour of a proline-functionalized lipopeptide

Pelin, J. N. B. D., Edwards-Gayle, C. J. C., Castelletto, V., Aguilar, A. M., Alves, W. A., Seitsonen, J., Ruokolainen, J. and Hamley, I. W. (2020) Self-assembly, nematic phase formation and organocatalytic behaviour of a proline-functionalized lipopeptide. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 12 (12). pp. 13671-13679. ISSN 1944-8252

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c00686


The self-assembly of the amphiphilic lipopeptide PAEPKI-C16 (P = proline, A = alanine, E = glutamic acid, K = lysine, I = isoleucine, C16 = hexadecyl) was investigated using a combination of spectroscopic, microscopic and scattering methods and compared to C16-IKPEAP with the same (reversed) peptide sequence and the alkyl chain positioned N-terminally and which lacks a free N-terminal proline residue. The catalytic activity of these peptides were then compared using a model aldol reaction system. For PAEPKI-C16, Cryo-TEM images showed the formation of micrometer length fibers, which by Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) were found to have a radius of 2.5 - 2.6 nm. Spectroscopic analysis shows these fibers are built from -sheets. This behaviour is in complete contrast to that of C16-IKPEAP which forms spherical micelles with peptides in a disordered conformation [Hutchinson, J. A. et al. J. Phys. Chem. B 2019, 123, 613]. For PAEPKI-C16, the spontaneous alignment of fibers was observed upon increasing pH, which was accompanied by observed birefringence and anisotropy of SAXS patterns. This shows the formation of a nematic liquids and unprecedented nematic hydrogel formation was also observed these lipopeptides at sufficiently high concentrations. SAXS shows retention of an ultrafine (1.7 nm core radius) fibrillar network within the hydrogel. PAEPKI-C16 with free N-terminal proline shows enhanced anti:syn diastereoselectivity and better conversion compared to C16-IKPEAP. The cytotoxicity of PAEPKI-C16 was also lower than C16-IKPEAP for both fibroblast and cancer cell lines. These results highlight the sensitivity of lipopeptide properties to the presence of a free proline residue. The spontaneous nematic phase formation by PAEPKI-C16 points to the highly anisotropy of its ultrafine fibrillar structure and the formation of such a phase at low concentration in aqueous solution may be valuable for future applications.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:89358
Publisher:ACS Publications


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