Chemical Stimulus-Responsive Supramolecular Hydrogel Formation and Shrinkage of a Hydrazone-containing Short Peptide Derivative
Artificial supramolecular nanostructures showing transient properties have attracted significant attention in recent years. New discoveries in this area may provide insights into a better understanding of the sophisticated organization of complex biomolecular systems. Nevertheless, research concerning such materials is still limited. Better knowledge of the chemical reactivity and corresponding molecular transformations of self-assembling molecules, which guide their assembly/disassembly, may provide an opportunity to construct transient supramolecular nanostructures capable of showing chemical stimulus responsiveness. Herein, we report a short peptide derivative containing a hydrazone bond, which shows transient hydrogel formation (no only sol-to-gel but also gel-to-shrunken gel phase transition) accompanied by continuous transformation and growth of supramolecular nanostructures triggered by hydrazone-oxime exchange reaction in response to hydroxylamine. Such controlled shrinkage behavior of supramolecular hydrogels in response to specific chemical stimuli has rarely been explored compared with conventional polymer hydrogel systems.