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Peptide Self-Assembly


  1. Silvia Cavalli1,2,3,
  2. Hana Robson Marsden4,
  3. Fernando Albericio1,2,5,
  4. Alexander Kros4

Published Online: 15 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470661345.smc088

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

How to Cite

Cavalli, S., Robson Marsden, H., Albericio, F. and Kros, A. 2012. Peptide Self-Assembly. Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    CIBER-BBN, Networking Centre on Bioengineering, Biomaterials, and Nanomedicine, Barcelona, Spain

  2. 2

    Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Barcelona, Spain

  3. 3

    University of Udine, Udine, Italy

  4. 4

    University of Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands

  5. 5

    University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2012


The formation of well-ordered nanostructures by a process of self-association in aqueous media or at interfaces represents the core of modern nanotechnology. Processes of molecular recognition and self-assembly direct the way in which relatively simple building blocks recognize each other, associate, and form ordered one-, two-, and three-dimensional structures with a wide range of applications in nanoscience. The manner in which molecules self-assemble and their interaction energies, shapes, and ultimate functions can be programmed at the molecular level by a careful and rational design. Peptides are among the most powerful building blocks available for constructing “smart” well-ordered nanostructures in a “bottom-up” approach, as they possess the biocompatibility and chemical diversity that are commonly found in proteins, but they are much more stable and robust and can be readily synthesized on a large scale. In this chapter, the main categories of peptide amphiphiles are discussed for their ability to spontaneously associate to form a variety of nanostructures (e.g., tubes, spheres, fibrils, tapes, and hydrogels at the nanometerscale) and some key features of this processes are outlined by describing a selection of relevant published works.


  • amphiphilic peptide;
  • self-assembly;
  • bottom-up;
  • building block;
  • nanostructure