Minimal lipidation stabilizes protein-like molecular architecture

Ying Ching Yu, Matthew Tirrell, Gregg B. Fields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Peptide-amphiphiles with collagen-model head groups and dialkyl chain tails have been shown previously to self-assemble into highly ordered polyPro II-like triple-helical structures when dissolved in aqueous subphases. In the present study, we have examined peptide-amphiphiles containing monoalkyl chain tails for similar self-assembly behaviors. The structure of a collagen- model peptide has been characterized with and without an N-terminal hexanoic acid (C6) modification. Evidence for a self-assembly process of both the peptide and peptide-amphiphile has been obtained from (a) circular dichroism spectra and melting curves characteristic of triple-helices, (b) one- dimensional NMR spectra indicative of stable triple-helical structure at low temperatures and melted triple helices at high temperatures, and (c) pulsed- field gradient NMR experiments demonstrating different self-diffusion coefficients between proposed triple-helical and non-triple-helical species. The peptide-amphiphile appeared to form monomeric triple helices. The thermal stability of the collagen-like structure in the peptide-amphiphile was found to increase as the monoalkyl tail chain length is increased over a range of C6 to C16. The assembly process driven by the hydrophobic tail, albeit monoalkyl or dialkyl, may provide a general method for creating well-defined protein molecular architecture. Peptide-amphiphile structures possessing these alkyl moieties have the potential to be used for biomaterial surface modification to improve biocompatibility or, by mimicing fusion of viral envelopes with cellular membranes, as drug delivery vehicles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9979-9987
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number39
StatePublished - Oct 7 1998
Externally publishedYes


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