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Water-Floating Giant Nanosheets from Helical Peptide Pentamers

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journal contribution
posted on 01.09.2016, 00:00 by Jaehun Lee, Ik Rang Choe, Nak-Kyoon Kim, Won-Je Kim, Hyung-Seok Jang, Yoon-Sik Lee, Ki Tae Nam
One of the important challenges in the development of protein-mimetic materials is understanding the sequence-specific assembly behavior and dynamic folding change. Conventional strategies for constructing two-dimensional (2D) nanostructures from peptides have been limited to using β-sheet forming sequences as building blocks due to their natural tendency to form sheet-like aggregations. We have identified a peptide sequence (YFCFY) that can form dimers via a disulfide bridge, fold into a helix, and assemble into macroscopic flat sheets at the air/water interface. Due to the large driving force for 2D assembly and high elastic modulus of the resulting sheet, the peptide assembly induces flattening of the initially round water droplet. Additionally, we found that stabilization of the helix by dimerization is a key determinant for maintaining macroscopic flatness over a few tens of centimeters even with a uniform thickness of <10 nm. Furthermore, the ability to transfer the sheets from a water droplet to another substrate allows for multiple stacking of 2D peptide nanostructures, suggesting possible applications in biomimetic catalysis, biosensors, and 2D related electronic devices.