Self-assembling short peptides are attractive minimal systems for mimicking the constituents of living systems and building (bio)materials. The combination of both D- and L-amino acids into heterochiral sequences is a versatile strategy for building durable supramolecular architectures, especially when their homochiral analogs do not self-assemble. The reasons for this divergent behavior have remained obscure until now. Here, we elucidate how and why homochiral and heterochiral peptides behave differently. We identify a key spectroscopy signature and its corresponding molecular conformation, whereby an amphiphilic structure is uniquely enabled by the peptide stereochemistry. Importantly, we unravel the self-assembly process as a continuum from the conformation of single molecules to their organization into nano- and microstructures and through to macroscopic hydrogels, which are probed for cytotoxicity in fibroblast cell culture. In this way, (bio)material properties at the macro-scale can be linked to the chemical structure of their building blocks at the angstrom scale. Nature makes pervasive use of homochirality (e.g., D-sugars and L-peptides) to assemble biomolecules, whose interactions determine life processes. D-amino acids rarely occur, and their effects are not yet completely understood. For a long time, structural complexity (e.g., polypeptides and constrained molecules) was considered a requirement for achieving defined conformations that ultimately allow biomolecule recognition and function. Here, we detail how minimalist building blocks can adopt conformations with a characteristic spectroscopic signature, whereby substitution of just one L-amino acid for its D mirror image leads to a divergent path for assembly in water. Subtle molecular variations are amplified through increasing size scale all the way to macroscopic differences that are visible to the eye. Ultimately, the design of heterochiral (bio)molecules thus provides an alternative approach to shed new light on the supramolecular interactions that define life as we know it. This work explains why and how heterochiral and homochiral tripeptides differ in their assembly in water. A characteristic spectroscopic signature is assigned to molecular conformation. We monitor the process as a continuum from the molecular scale to the macroscopic biomaterials so that the final properties are linked to chemical structure of the building blocks. This work lays the foundation for the design of supramolecular hydrogel biomaterials based on short sequences of hydrophobic D- and L-amino acids.

Chirality Effects on Peptide Self-Assembly Unraveled from Molecules to Materials

Ana M. Garcia;Daniel Iglesias;Evelina Parisi;Caterina Deganutti;Rita De Zorzi;Mario Grassi;Michele Melchionna;Silvia Marchesan
2018

Abstract

Self-assembling short peptides are attractive minimal systems for mimicking the constituents of living systems and building (bio)materials. The combination of both D- and L-amino acids into heterochiral sequences is a versatile strategy for building durable supramolecular architectures, especially when their homochiral analogs do not self-assemble. The reasons for this divergent behavior have remained obscure until now. Here, we elucidate how and why homochiral and heterochiral peptides behave differently. We identify a key spectroscopy signature and its corresponding molecular conformation, whereby an amphiphilic structure is uniquely enabled by the peptide stereochemistry. Importantly, we unravel the self-assembly process as a continuum from the conformation of single molecules to their organization into nano- and microstructures and through to macroscopic hydrogels, which are probed for cytotoxicity in fibroblast cell culture. In this way, (bio)material properties at the macro-scale can be linked to the chemical structure of their building blocks at the angstrom scale. Nature makes pervasive use of homochirality (e.g., D-sugars and L-peptides) to assemble biomolecules, whose interactions determine life processes. D-amino acids rarely occur, and their effects are not yet completely understood. For a long time, structural complexity (e.g., polypeptides and constrained molecules) was considered a requirement for achieving defined conformations that ultimately allow biomolecule recognition and function. Here, we detail how minimalist building blocks can adopt conformations with a characteristic spectroscopic signature, whereby substitution of just one L-amino acid for its D mirror image leads to a divergent path for assembly in water. Subtle molecular variations are amplified through increasing size scale all the way to macroscopic differences that are visible to the eye. Ultimately, the design of heterochiral (bio)molecules thus provides an alternative approach to shed new light on the supramolecular interactions that define life as we know it. This work explains why and how heterochiral and homochiral tripeptides differ in their assembly in water. A characteristic spectroscopic signature is assigned to molecular conformation. We monitor the process as a continuum from the molecular scale to the macroscopic biomaterials so that the final properties are linked to chemical structure of the building blocks. This work lays the foundation for the design of supramolecular hydrogel biomaterials based on short sequences of hydrophobic D- and L-amino acids.
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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2451929418302250
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/2928552
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