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Langmuir. 2006 Jan 31;22(3):1313-20.

Thermal and chemical stability of diphenylalanine peptide nanotubes: implications for nanotechnological applications.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.


The diphenylalanine peptide, the core recognition motif of the beta-amyloid polypeptide, efficiently self-assembles into discrete, well-ordered nanotubes. Here, we describe the notable thermal and chemical stability of these tubular structures both in aqueous solution and under dry conditions. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM) as well as atomic force microscopy (AFM) revealed the stability of the nanotubes in aqueous solution at temperatures above the boiling point of water upon autoclave treatment. The nanotubes preserved their secondary structure at temperatures up to 90 degrees C, as shown by circular dichroism (CD) spectra. Cold field emission gun (CFEG) high-resolution scanning electron microscope (HRSEM) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) of the peptide nanotubes after dry heat revealed durability at higher temperature. It was shown that the thermal stability of diphenylalanine peptide nanotubes is significantly higher than that of a nonassembling dipeptide, dialanine. In addition to thermal stability, the peptide nanotubes were chemically stable in organic solvents such as ethanol, methanol, 2-propanol, acetone, and acetonitrile, as shown by SEM analysis. Moreover, the acetone environment enabled AFM imaging of the nanotubes in solution. The significant thermal and chemical stability of the peptide nanotubes demonstrated here points toward their possible use in conventional microelectronic and microelectromechanics processes and fabrication into functional nanotechnological devices.

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