Secrets of Peptide Assembly unzipped at ISIS
07 Jan 2020







Peptide self-assembly exhibits some special features, including the 'polar zipper', proposed 25 years ago by Max Perutz. Shown to form between beta strands of peptides via side chain interactions, it may influence some types of neurodegenerative disease. New research, conducted by the China University of Petroleum and The University of Manchester, used neutron scattering to demonstrate a novel form of polar zipper between neighbouring beta sheets and not just between the strands within a beta sheet. Small angle neutron scattering on SANS2D and LOQ was used to make in situ measurements of the self-assembled nano-structures that formed in aqueous solution.

This research, published in Nature Communications, has provided ground-breaking insights into how peptides self-assemble. This could improve the development of peptide-based materials already used in artificial enzymes, antibacterial and anticancer agents, cell culture scaffolds and even biological semiconductors, with the added benefit of improved biodegradability and biocompatibility.

Related publication: “Nanoribbons self-assembled from short peptides demonstrate the formation of polar zippers between β-sheets" Nature Communications volume 9, Article number: 5118, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07583-2

Authors: Meng Wang (China University of Petroleum (East China)), Jiqian Wang (China University of Petroleum (East China)), Peng Zhou (China University of Petroleum (East China)), Jing Deng (Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics), Yurong Zhao (China University of Petroleum (East China)), Yawei Sun (China University of Petroleum (East China)), Wei Yang (China University of Petroleum (East China)), Dong Wang (China University of Petroleum (East China)), Zongyi Li (The University of Manchester), Xuzhi Hu (The University of Manchester), Stephen M. King (ISIS), Sarah E. Rogers (ISIS), Henry Cox (The University of Manchester), Thomas A. Waigh (The University of Manchester), Jun Yang (Wuhan Institute of Physics and Mathematics), Jian Ren Lu (The University of Manchester) & Hai Xu (China University of Petroleum (East China)).

Instruments: Sans2d and LOQ​

Contact: de Laune, Rosie (STFC,RAL,ISIS)