Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Volume 166, 2013
Previous Article Next Article

Electrospinning of peptide and protein fibres: approaching the molecular scale

Author affiliations

Abstract

For the example of peptides and proteins, we contrast “natural” self-assembly, i.e. aggregation in solutions, with “forced” assembly by electrospinning, i.e. by application of strong electrical fields to concentrated solutions. We were able to spin fibres that contain short stretches of diameters down to 5 nm; the ultimate aim is a fibre of the size of a single molecule. Besides their wide biochemical relevance, small peptides can assemble to defined supramolecular structures such as fibres and tubes. While the main driving mechanism in electrospinning is certainly based on electrostatics, aromatic groups in peptides might play a directing role. We used fluorenyl and phenyl, whose π-stacking is not manifested in vibrational spectra, but is clearly visible in their crystal structures. The main differences between solid phases and single molecules are found for O–H and N–H stretching and bending vibrations, due to extensive hydrogen bonding in solids. However, we found that only proteins, but not peptides, can be spun into ultrathin fibres. Therefore, nanoscale analysis by SEM and AFM, and by infrared near-field microscopy are especially useful. The comparison of the amide bands from the infrared and Raman spectra, combined with circular dichroism spectroscopy, allowed us to assign secondary structures. Our results are not only useful for interpreting and refining current theories of self-assembly and electrospinning, but also for creating new scaffolds for the growth of sensitive cells.

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
29 Apr 2013
Accepted
02 Jul 2013
First published
16 Dec 2013

Faraday Discuss., 2013,166, 209-221
Article type
Paper

Electrospinning of peptide and protein fibres: approaching the molecular scale

W. Nuansing, D. Frauchiger, F. Huth, A. Rebollo, R. Hillenbrand and A. M. Bittner, Faraday Discuss., 2013, 166, 209
DOI: 10.1039/C3FD00069A

Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements