Peptide nanotubes self-assembled from leucine-rich alpha helical surfactant-like peptides†
The designed arginine-rich surfactant-like peptide R3L12 (arginine3–leucine12) is shown to form a remarkable diversity of self-assembled nanostructures in aqueous solution, depending on pH, including nanotubes, mesh-like tubular networks in three-dimensions and square planar arrays in two-dimensions. These structures are built from α-helical antiparallel coiled–coil peptide dimers arranged perpendicular to the nanotube axis, in a “cross-α” nanotube structure. The aggregation behavior is rationalized based on the effects of dimensionality, and the balance of hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions. The nanotube and nanomesh structures display arginine at high density on their surfaces, which may be valuable for future applications.