Anatomy of a selectively coassembled β-sheet peptide nanofiber.


Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695; [Email]


Peptide self-assembly, wherein molecule A associates with other A molecules to form fibrillar β-sheet structures, is common in nature and widely used to fabricate synthetic biomaterials. Selective coassembly of peptide pairs A and B with complementary partial charges is gaining interest due to its potential for expanding the form and function of biomaterials that can be realized. It has been hypothesized that charge-complementary peptides organize into alternating ABAB-type arrangements within assembled β-sheets, but no direct molecular-level evidence exists to support this interpretation. We report a computational and experimental approach to characterize molecular-level organization of the established peptide pair, CATCH. Discontinuous molecular dynamics simulations predict that CATCH(+) and CATCH(-) peptides coassemble but do not self-assemble. Two-layer β-sheet amyloid structures predominate, but off-pathway β-barrel oligomers are also predicted. At low concentration, transmission electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering identified nonfibrillar ∼20-nm oligomers, while at high concentrations elongated fibers predominated. Thioflavin T fluorimetry estimates rapid and near-stoichiometric coassembly of CATCH(+) and CATCH(-) at concentrations ≥100 μM. Natural abundance 13C NMR and isotope-edited Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy indicate that CATCH(+) and CATCH(-) coassemble into two-component nanofibers instead of self-sorting. However, 13C-13C dipolar recoupling solid-state NMR measurements also identify nonnegligible AA and BB interactions among a majority of AB pairs. Collectively, these results demonstrate that strictly alternating arrangements of β-strands predominate in coassembled CATCH structures, but deviations from perfect alternation occur. Off-pathway β-barrel oligomers are also suggested to occur in coassembled β-strand peptide systems.


coarse-grained simulation,coassembly,fibril,peptides,β-barrel,

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