Transition of Nano-Architectures Through Self-Assembly of Lipidated β3-Tripeptide Foldamers

Nathan Habila, Ketav Kulkarni, Tzong-Hsien Lee, Zahraa S. Al-Garawi, Louise C. Serpell, Marie-Isabel Aguilar, Mark P. Del Borgo

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1 Citation (Scopus)


β3-peptides consisting exclusively of β3-amino acids adopt a variety of non-natural helical structures and can self-assemble into well-defined hierarchical structures by axial head-to-tail self-assembly resulting in fibrous materials of varying sizes and shapes. To allow control of fiber morphology, a lipid moiety was introduced within a tri-β3-peptide sequence at each of the three amino acid positions and the N-terminus to gain finer control over the lateral assembly of fibers. Depending on the position of the lipid, the self-assembled structures formed either twisted ribbon-like fibers or distinctive multilaminar nanobelts. The nanobelt structures were comprised of multiple layers of peptide fibrils as revealed by puncturing the surface of the nanobelts with an AFM probe. This stacking phenomenon was completely inhibited through changes in pH, indicating that the layer stacking was mediated by electrostatic interactions. Thus, the present study is the first to show controlled self-assembly of these fibrous structures, which is governed by the location of the acyl chain in combination with the 3-point H-bonding motif. Overall, the results demonstrate that the nanostructures formed by the β3-tripeptide foldamers can be tuned via sequential lipidation of N-acetyl β3-tripeptides which control the lateral interactions between peptide fibrils and provide defined structures with a greater homogeneous population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number217
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020


  • foldamers
  • nanobelts
  • nanofibers
  • nanoindentation
  • peptide materials
  • self-assembly

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