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J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Jun 18;125(24):7146-7.

Self-assembly combining two bioactive peptide-amphiphile molecules into nanofibers by electrostatic attraction.

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Departments of Materials Science, and the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 2220 Campus Drive, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


We describe a new approach to peptide-amphiphile (PA) nanofiber preparation that allows PAs with different bioactive amino acid sequences to be combined into a single fiber. Oppositely charged PAs are synthesized separately and then mixed to produce gels of nanofiber networks at physiological pH. Transmission electron microscopy reveals the formation of fibers approximately 7 nm in diameter and several micrometers long in these dimeric systems. On the basis of NMR and microscopy, we suggest that these nanofibers are cylindrical micelles of mixed composition, formed due to electrostatic attraction between the oppositely charged PAs. This strategy for self-assembly may be useful in cell therapies that can be implemented without invasive surgery or in in vitro tissue engineering.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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