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J Phys Chem B. 2008 Feb 28;112(8):2326-34. doi: 10.1021/jp074420n. Epub 2008 Feb 6.

Molecular simulation study of peptide amphiphile self-assembly.

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  • 1Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


We study the self-assembly of peptide amphiphile (PA) molecules, which is governed by hydrophobic interactions between alkyl tails and a network of hydrogen bonds between peptide blocks. We demonstrate that the interplay between these two interactions results in the formation of assemblies of different morphology, in particular, single beta-sheets connected laterally by hydrogen bonds, stacks of parallel beta-sheets, spherical micelles, micelles with beta-sheets in the corona, and long cylindrical fibers. We characterize the size distribution of the aggregates as a function of the molecular interactions. Our results suggest that the formation of nanofibers of peptide amphiphiles obeys an open association model, which resembles living polymerization.

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