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Heterochirality Restricts the Self-Assembly of Phenylalanine Dipeptides Capped with Highly Aromatic Groups

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journal contribution
posted on 06.07.2020, 12:04 by Ana M. Gil, Jordi Casanovas, Enric Mayans, Ana I. Jiménez, Jordi Puiggalí, Carlos Alemán
The influence of stereochemistry on the self-assembly of phenylalanine (Phe) dipeptides bearing aromatic fluorenyl groups at both the N- and C-termini (Fmoc, OFm) has been investigated. For this purpose, Fmoc–d-Phe–l-Phe–OFm and Fmoc–l-Phe–l-Phe–OFm have been examined considering a wide variety of solvents, which differ in dielectric constant and volatility. Results reveal that replacement of l-Phe by d-Phe has a major impact on the self-assembly propensities, restricting drastically the structural diversity and polymorphism shown by the homochiral dipeptide. Thus, the analogous heterochiral dipeptide shows a great propensity to form micro/nanofibers, independently of the environmental conditions. Theoretical calculations revealed that the stability of antiparallel disposition is much higher (a factor of ca. 15) for Fmoc–d-Phe–l-Phe–OFm than that for Fmoc–l-Phe–l-Phe–OFm, which has been attributed to the hydrophobic core formed in the former. Overall, results suggest that control of the backbone chirality is a potent and versatile strategy to drive and finely tune the self-assembly propensities of highly aromatic peptides.