Metal ions modulating self-assembly of short peptide conjugating nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Metal ions are essential component to keep the normal life activities, which can be used to fabricate the self-assembled building blocks of peptide derivatives, proteins and nucleic acids. Here, we have developed a novel strategy to construct supramolecular hydrogels modulated by metal cations. By introducing a variety of metal ions into the aqueous solution of gelator (naproxen-FF), comprised of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and dipeptide, we obtain stable hydrogels under neutral or alkaline conditions. It is found that the hydrogels with three-dimensional nanofiber networks exhibit excellent mechanical property and thixotropy, as well as the superb responsiveness to multiple metal ions. Due to the significance of potassium ions participating in biological processes, the K-triggered hydrogel has been chosen as the model and its self-assemble mechanism has been explored by various spectral analysis. In addition, the self-assemble perfomance of peptide is significantly affected by the chemical structure of gelator molecule. The work provides a deep insight into the aggregated mechanism of dipeptide derivatives conjugated drug molecules through introducing a variety of metal ions, which lay down the foundation for further biological applications.