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Nanotechnology. 2011 Dec 9;22(49):494018. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/22/49/494018. Epub 2011 Nov 21.

Nucleation and growth of elastin-like peptide fibril multilayers: an in situ atomic force microscopy study.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G9, Canada.


Controlling how molecules assemble into complex supramolecular architectures requires careful consideration of the subtle inter- and intra-molecular interactions that control their association. This is particularly crucial in the context of assembly at interfaces, where both surface chemistry and structure can play a role in directing structure formation. We report here the results of a study into the self-assembly of the elastin-like peptide EP I on structurally modified highly ordered pyrolytic graphite, including the role of spatial confinement on fibril nucleation and the growth of oriented fibril multilayers. In situ atomic force microscopy performed in fluid and at elevated temperature provided direct evidence of frustrated fibril nuclei and oriented growth of independent fibril domains. These results portend the application of this in situ strategy for studies of the nucleation and growth mechanisms of other fibril- and amyloid-forming proteins.

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