Dynamic peptide libraries for the discovery of supramolecular nanomaterials

Journal: Nature Nanotechnology

Published: 2016-10-03

DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.169

Affiliations: 5

Authors: 9

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Research Highlight

Putting a peptide in your step

© LAGUNA DESIGN/Science Photo Library/Getty

© LAGUNA DESIGN/Science Photo Library/Getty

A team led by researchers at City University of New York has discovered how to pick the best starting materials for making functional nanostructures.

To build things like smart drug delivery nanocapsules, researchers often turn to nature. Peptides that re-order their component amino acids, can be programmed to self-assemble into almost any structure imaginable.

But this vast potential presents a predicament; given the number of possible peptide sequences, it can be hard to find the right one for the task. To do this, the team prepared a library of dipeptide structures, added an enzyme that broke apart peptides, then stepped back to watch. Over time, peptides formed and were cleaved, and sequences with the strongest tendency to self-assemble came to dominate the mixture.

By altering the reaction conditions, different sets of useful peptide sequences formed. The process could be automated to explore even more peptide sequence space, the researchers say.

Supported content

  1. Nature Nanotechnology 11,960–968 (2016). doi: 10.1038/NNANO.2016.169
Institutions Share
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY Graduate Center), United States of America (USA) 0.74
WestCHEM, United Kingdom (UK) 0.19
Hunter College of City University of New York (CUNY Hunter College), United States of America (USA) 0.06