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Keywords:

  • peptide self-assembly;
  • amphipathic peptide;
  • fibril;
  • hydrogel;
  • peptide biomaterials

Abstract

Amphipathic peptides composed of alternating polar and nonpolar residues have a strong tendency to self-assemble into one-dimensional, amyloid-like fibril structures. Fibrils derived from peptides of general (XZXZ)n sequence in which X is hydrophobic and Z is hydrophilic adopt a putative β-sheet bilayer. The bilayer configuration allows burial of the hydrophobic X side chain groups in the core of the fibril and leaves the polar Z side chains exposed to solvent. This architectural arrangement provides fibrils that maintain high solubility in water and has facilitated the recent exploitation of self-assembled amphipathic peptide fibrils as functional biomaterials. This article is a critical review of the development and application of self-assembling amphipathic peptides with a focus on the fundamental insight these types of peptides provide into peptide self-assembly phenomena. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Biopolymers (Pept Sci) 98: 169–184, 2012.