Self-Assembled Peptide Nanostructures

Authored by: Lihi Adler-Abramovich , Ehud Gazit

Handbook of Nanophysics

Print publication date:  September  2010
Online publication date:  September  2010

Print ISBN: 9781420075427
eBook ISBN: 9781420075434
Adobe ISBN:


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The spontaneous formation of ordered structures at the nano-scale is a key issue in nanotechnology (Whitesides et al. 1991; Zhang 2003). In a “bottom-up” process, simple building blocks self-assemble to form large and more complex supramolecular assemblies (Figure 15.1). In the molecular self-assembly process, the molecules spontaneously interact with each other through noncovalent bonds to form well-ordered ultrastructures; therefore, the structure of the molecular building blocks determines the architecture of the assembly. This assembly process is mediated through weak intermolecular interactions, such as van der Waals bonds, hydrogen bonds, aromatic interactions, and electrostatic interactions. The overall coordinated combination of the various molecular forces, which are quite weak individually, results in the process of the self-organization from simple blocks into elaborate and ordered structures. Several natural building blocks such as nucleic acids, phospholipids, and polypeptides self-assemble to form novel materials. In recent years, there has been a great interest in the fabrication of new materials using natural building blocks and combining them in artificial systems. Therefore, the biomolecular self-assembly mechanism is extensively being studied by many research groups to obtain a better understanding.

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