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Elastin-Like Peptide Amphiphiles Form Nanofibers with Tunable Length

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journal contribution
posted on 10.09.2012, 00:00 by Suhaas Aluri, Martha K. Pastuszka, Ara S. Moses, J. Andrew MacKay
Peptide amphiphiles (PAs) self-assemble nanostructures with potential applications in drug delivery and tissue engineering. Some PAs share environmentally responsive behavior with their peptide components. Here we report a new type of PAs biologically inspired from human tropoelastin. Above a lower critical solution temperature (LCST), elastin-like polypeptides (ELPs) undergo a reversible inverse phase transition. Similar to other PAs, elastin-like PAs (ELPAs) assemble micelles with fiber-like nanostructures. Similar to ELPs, ELPAs have inverse phase transition behavior. Here we demonstrate control over the ELPAs fiber length and cellular uptake. In addition, we observed that both peptide assembly and nanofiber phase separation are accompanied by a distinctive secondary structure attributed primarily to a type-1 β turn. We also demonstrate increased solubility of hydrophobic paclitaxel (PAX) in the presence of ELPAs. Due to their biodegradability, biocompatibility, and environmental responsiveness, elastin-inspired biopolymers are an emerging platform for drug and cell delivery; furthermore, the discovery of ELPAs may provide a new and useful approach to engineer these materials into stimuli-responsive gels and drug carriers.