Electrostatic effects on nanofiber formation of self-assembling peptide amphiphiles
Self-assembling peptide amphiphile molecules have been of interest to various tissue engineering studies. These molecules self-assemble into nanofibers which organize into three-dimensional networks to form hydrocolloid systems mimicking the extracellular matrix. The formation of nanofibers is affected by the electrostatic interactions among the peptides. In this work, we studied the effect of charged groups on the peptides on nanofiber formation. The self-assembly process was studied by pH and zeta potential measurements, FT-IR, circular dichroism, rheology, atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The aggregation of the peptides was triggered upon neutralization of the charged residues by pH change or addition of electrolyte or biomacromolecules. Understanding the controlled formation of the hydrocolloid gels composed of peptide amphiphile nanofibers can lead us to develop in situ gel forming bioactive collagen mimetic nanofibers for various tissue engineering studies including bioactive surface coatings. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.