Controlling the self-assembly and material properties of β-sheet peptide hydrogels by modulating intermolecular interactions

WARREN, James p., CULBERT, Matthew p., MILES, Danielle, MAUDE, Steven, WILCOX, Ruth K. and BEALES, Paul A. (2023). Controlling the self-assembly and material properties of β-sheet peptide hydrogels by modulating intermolecular interactions. Gels, 9 (6): 441.

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Self-assembling peptides are a promising biomaterial with potential applications in medical devices and drug delivery. In the right combination of conditions, self-assembling peptides can form self-supporting hydrogels. Here, we describe how balancing attractive and repulsive intermolecular forces is critical for successful hydrogel formation. Electrostatic repulsion is tuned by altering the peptide’s net charge, and intermolecular attractions are controlled through the degree of hydrogen bonding between specific amino acid residues. We find that an overall net peptide charge of +/−2 is optimal to facilitate the assembly of self-supporting hydrogels. If the net peptide charge is too low then dense aggregates form, while a high molecular charge inhibits the formation of larger structures. At a constant charge, altering the terminal amino acids from glutamine to serine decreases the degree of hydrogen bonding within the assembling network. This tunes the viscoelastic properties of the gel, reducing the elastic modulus by two to three orders of magnitude. Finally, hydrogels could be formed from glutamine-rich, highly charged peptides by mixing the peptides in combinations with a resultant net charge of +/−2. These results illustrate how understanding and controlling self-assembly mechanisms through modulating intermolecular interactions can be exploited to derive a range of structures with tuneable properties.

Item Type: Article
Editor - Zhou, Dezhong
Editor - Liu, Shuai
Additional Information: ** Article version: VoR ** From MDPI via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for VoR version of this article: ** Peer reviewed: TRUE **Journal IDs: eissn 2310-2861 **Article IDs: publisher-id: gels-09-00441 **History: collection 06-2023; published_online 26-05-2023; accepted 21-05-2023; rev-recd 19-05-2023; submitted 19-04-2023
Uncontrolled Keywords: hydrogels, self-assembly, β-sheet, peptides, rheology
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Colin Knott
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 10:59
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 14:16

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