Human neuropeptide substance P self-assembles into semi-flexible nanotubes that can be manipulated for nanotechnology†
Substance P neuropeptide is here reported to self-assemble into well-defined semi-flexible nanotubes. Using a blend of synchrotron small angle X-ray scattering, atomic force microscopy and other biophysical techniques, the natural peptide is shown to self-assemble into monodisperse 6 nm wide nanotubes, which can closely associate into nano-arrays with nematic properties. Using simple protocols, the nanotubes could be precipitated or mineralised while conserving their dimensions and core–shell morphology. Our discovery expands the small number of available monodisperse peptide nanotube systems for nanotechnology, beyond direct relevance to biologically functional peptide nanostructures since the substance P nanotubes are fundamentally different from typical amyloid fibrils.