In proteins, chains of amino acids known as peptides are arranged in the form of an alpha helix.
The peptides assemble into these helices because of the favourable formation of hydrogen
bonds and other non-covalent interactions. Being able to control this self-assembly could
open possible applications in tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and even organic
In this study, published in Small, researchers designed a series
of helical peptides and studied their self-assembly behaviour
using a range of techniques, including neutron scattering.
They were able to determine the effect of the different noncovalent interactions on the nanostructure formed.
The system they have developed is a straightforward
and versatile self-assembly method for creating complex
biomolecules. As well as developing a system that could have
applications in medicine, the work also provides a convenient
approach for building biologically-inspired functional
architectures for potential applications in functional materials
Related publication: “Ordered Nanofibers Fabricated from Hierarchical Self-Assembling Processes of Designed
α-Helical Peptides.” Small, 16, 45, 2003945 (2020)