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Issue 21, 2011
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A pH-responsive coiled-coil peptide hydrogel

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We report the design of an α-helical peptide that forms self-healing hydrogels at weight fractions below 0.1%. Gelation of the 21-residue peptide AFD19 is controlled by changes in pH, whereby highly-charged peptide states give low-viscosity solutions, while thermostable gels form at pH values where the peptide charge lies close to +1 or −1. At pH values where the molecular charge approaches zero, the peptide forms insoluble fibrils. Transitions between the liquid, gel and insoluble states of the peptide are reversible upon addition of acid or base. Electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering and electronic circular dichroism studies indicate that gelation occurs when the peptide self-assembles into soluble coiled-coil fibrils that form cross-links below a critical zeta potential. The formation of extended fibrils occurs in the absence of any explicit design to drive helix offsetting.

Graphical abstract: A pH-responsive coiled-coil peptide hydrogel

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Publication details

The article was received on 05 Jul 2011, accepted on 18 Aug 2011 and first published on 01 Sep 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06261A
Soft Matter, 2011,7, 10210-10218

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    A pH-responsive coiled-coil peptide hydrogel

    N. L. Fletcher, C. V. Lockett and A. F. Dexter, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 10210
    DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06261A

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