Homogenous graphene oxide-peptide nanofiber hybrid hydrogel as biomimetic polysaccharide hydrolase†
Cellulose, an impressive potential sustainable fuel, is difficult to hydrolyze because of the protection of β-1,4-glycosidic bonds through the tight hydrogen bonding network. In this study, homogenous graphene oxide (GO)-peptide nanofiber hybrid hydrogels (GO-PNFs) were designed as a β-glycosyl hydrolase mimetic to achieve efficient degradation of cellobiose and cellopentaose. For comparison, free peptides, graphene oxide mixed with free peptides (GO-peptdies) and self-assembled peptide nanofibers (PNFs) were also studied for their activity as a hydrolase mimetics for degradation of cellobiose. Among these materials, GO-PNFs showed the highest hydrolysis activity. Transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, fluorescence analysis, circular dichroism spectroscopies, X-ray diffraction, Raman spectra and computational modeling were used to interpret the difference in activity mechanism in these artificially designed enzymes. These investigations suggested that high catalytic performance of GO-PNFs toward cellobiose and cellopentaose hydrolysis could be attributed to the formation of nanofiber structures of peptides, optimal molecular conformation and less steric hindrance to access the substrate. More importantly, GO not only served as a platform for attaching PNFs, but also created a hydrophobic microenvironment and facilitated proton transfer, an essential step in catalytic hydrolysis, thus enhancing catalytic activity. All these provided insights into the potential use of peptides and GO hybrid composite nanoenzymes in efficient cellulose hydrolysis.