Pushing and Pulling: A Dual pH Trigger Controlled by Varying the Alkyl Tail Length in Heme Coordinating Peptide Amphiphiles.

Affiliation

Fry HC(1), Peters BL(2), Ferguson AL(3).
Author information:
(1)Center for Nansocale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S. Cass Ave. Lemont, Argonne, Illinois 60712, United States.
(2)Materials Science Division, Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 S. Cass Ave. Lemont, Argonne, Illinois 60712, United States.
(3)Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637, United States.

Abstract

Some organisms in nature that undergo anaerobic respiration utilize 1D nanoscale arrays of densely packed cytochromes containing the molecule heme. The assemblies can be mimicked with 1D nanoscale fibrils composed of peptide amphiphiles designed to coordinate heme in dense arrays. To create such materials and assemblies, it is critical to understand the assembly process and what controls the various aspects of hierarchical assembly. MD simulations suggest that shorter alkyl chains on the peptide lead to more dynamic structures than the peptides with longer chains that yield kinetically trapped states. The hydration parameters manifest themselves experimentally through the observation of a dual pH trigger, which controls the peptide assembly rate, the heme binding affinity, and heme organization kinetics. Great strides in understanding the relative complexity of the self-assembly process in relation to incorporating a functional moiety like heme opens up many possibilities in developing abiotic assemblies for bioelectronic devices and assemblies.