American Chemical Society
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Metal Ion-Induced Unusual Stability of the Metastable Vesicle-like Intermediates Evolving during the Self-Assembly of Phenylalanine: Prominent Role of Surface Charge Inversion

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posted on 2024-04-17, 20:45 authored by Debanjan Bagchi, Avijit Maity, Anjan Chakraborty
The underlying mechanism and intermediate formation in the self-assembly of aromatic amino acids, peptides, and proteins remain elusive despite numerous reports. We, for the first time, report that one can stabilize the intermediates by tuning the metal ion–amino acid interaction. Microscopic and spectroscopic investigations of the self-assembly of carboxybenzyl (Z)-protected phenylalanine (ZF) reveal that the bivalent metal ions eventually lead to the formation of fibrillar networks similar to blank ZF whereas the trivalent ions develop vesicle-like intermediates that do not undergo fibrillation for a prolonged time. The time-lapse measurement of surface charge reveals that the surface charge of blank ZF and in the presence of bivalent metal ions changes from a negative value to zero, implying unstable intermediates leading to the fibril network. Strikingly, a prominent charge inversion from an initial negative value to a positive value in the presence of trivalent metal ions imparts unusual stability to the metastable intermediates.