Advanced Materials

Peptide-Based Nanotubes and Their Applications in Bionanotechnology


  • This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-FG-02-01ER45935), the National Science Foundation CARRER Award (ECS-0103430), and partially supported by a NIGMS MBRS SCORE grant (2-S06-GM60654).


In nature, biological nanomaterials are synthesized under ambient conditions in a natural microscopic-sized laboratory, such as a cell. Biological molecules, such as peptides and proteins, undergo self-assembly processes in vivo and in vitro, and these monomers are assembled into various nanometer-scale structures at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. The self-assembled peptide nanostructures can be further organized to form nanowires, nanotubes, and nanoparticles via their molecular-recognition functions. The application of molecular self-assemblies of synthetic peptides as nanometer-scale building blocks in devices is robust, practical, and affordable due to their advantages of reproducibility, large-scale production ability, monodispersity, and simpler experimental methods. It is also beneficial that smart functionalities can be added at desired positions in peptide nanotubes through well-established chemical and peptide syntheses. These features of peptide-based nanotubes are the driving force for investigating and developing peptide nanotube assemblies for biological and non-biological applications.