Chirality-Mediated Mechanical and Structural Properties of Oligopeptide Hydrogels.

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TitleChirality-Mediated Mechanical and Structural Properties of Oligopeptide Hydrogels.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsTaraban, MB, Feng, Y, Hammouda, B, Hyland, LL, Y Yu, B
JournalChem Mater
Date Published2012 Jun 26

The origin and the effects of homochirality in the biological world continuously stimulate numerous hypotheses and much debate. This work attempts to look at the biohomochirality issue from a different angle-the mechanical properties of the bulk biomaterial and their relation to nanoscale structures. Using a pair of oppositely charged peptides that co-assemble into hydrogels, we systematically investigated the effect of chirality on the mechanical properties of these hydrogels through different combinations of syndiotactic and isotactic peptides. It was found that homochirality confers mechanical advantage, resulting in higher elastic modulus and strain yield value. Yet, heterochirality confer kinetic advantage, resulting in faster gelation. Structurally, both homochiral and heterochiral hydrogels are made of fibers interconnected by lappet-like webs, but the homochiral peptide fibers are thicker and denser. The result highlights the possible role of biohomochirality in the evolution and/or natural selection of biomaterials.

Alternate JournalChem Mater
PubMed ID23641124
PubMed Central IDPMC3639503
Grant ListR01 EB004416 / EB / NIBIB NIH HHS / United States