Amino acid sequence controls the self-assembled superstructure morphology of N-acetylated tri-beta(3)-peptides Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract Peptides based on unnatural β3-amino acids offer a versatile platform for the design of self-assembling nanostructures due to the folding stability of the 14-helix and the high symmetry of the side chains inherent in this geometry. We have previously described that N-terminal acetylation (Ac-) forms a supramolecular self-assembly motif that allows β3-peptides to assemble head-to-tail into a helical nanorod which then further bundles into hierarchical superstructures. Here we investigate the effect of the topography of the 14-helical nanorod on lateral self-assembly. Specifically, we report on the variations in the superstructure of three isomeric peptides comprising the same three β3-amino acid residues: β3-leucine (L), β3-isoleucine (I) β3-alanine (A) to give peptides Ac-β3[LIA], Ac-β3[IAL] and Ac-β3[ALI]. AFM imaging shows markedly different superstructures for the three peptides. Well defined synchrotron far-infrared spectra reveal uniform geometries with a high degree of similarity between the isomeric peptides in the amide modes of the 400–650 wavenumber range. Far-IR also confirms that the C-terminal carboxyl group is free in the assemblies, thus it is solvated in the dispersant. Hence, the differences in the superstructures formed by the fibers are defined primarily by van der Waals energy minimization between the varied cross sectional morphologies of the core nanorods.

publication date

  • 2015