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Biotechnol Adv. 2012 May-Jun;30(3):593-603. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2011.10.004. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

From short peptides to nanofibers to macromolecular assemblies in biomedicine.

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Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, 31 Biopolis Way, The Nanos #04-01, Singapore 138669, Singapore.


In the last few years, a variety of self-assembling short peptides that consist exclusively of simple amino acids have been designed and modified. These peptides exhibit self-assembling dynamic behaviors. At the molecular structural level, they form α-helical, β-sheet and β-hairpins structures in water. These structures further undergo spontaneous assembly to form nanofibers which aggregate into supramolecular scaffolds that entrap large volumes of water. Furthermore, nanostructures and supramolecular structures that self-organized from these short peptides also have a broad spectrum of biotechnological applications. They are useful as biological materials for 2D and 3D tissue cell cultures, regenerative and reparative medicine, tissue engineering as well as injectable drug delivery matrices that gel in situ. We have endeavored to do a comprehensive review of short peptides that form nanofibrous hydrogels. In particular, we have focused on recent advances in peptide assembly motifs and applications.

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