The research group led by Ji Wei from the School of Bio-engineering of Chongqing University has recently published its original research paper in Journal of the American Chemical Society and Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. respectively under the title of “Expanding the Structural Diversity and Functional Scope of Diphenylalanine-Based Peptide Architectures by Hierarchical Coassembly” and “Co-Assembly Induced Solid-State Stacking Transformation in Amino Acid-Based Crystals with Enhanced Physical Properties”. The School of Bio-engineering of Chongqing University is the first affiliation and corresponding affiliation of the paper.
As the core recognition sequence of amyloid protein, diphenylalanine dipeptide (FF) has advantages including strong self-assembly ability, diversified assembly structure and easy functional modification of molecules. As such, it has become one of the most extensively studied short-peptide derivative sequences in the field of biology and nanotechnology. In order to give FF new self-assembly behavior, structure and function, researchers at home and abroad reported the research of molecular modification, assembly structure regulation and function expansion and application with FF as building blocks. Regulating the assembly nano morphology of FF through non-peptide molecules and further constructing multiple responsive nano materials have always been a great challenge.
Ji Wei and Cai Kaiyong from Chongqing University have been working with Wei Guanghong from Fudan University and Ehud Gazit from Tel Aviv University, and published a joint report on how the diversified bipyridine derivatives can be multi-stage co-assembled with FF dipeptide derivatives (ZFF, BocFF, AcFF) with N-terminal modified functional groups to prepare diversified nanostructures, and realized the construction of multi responsive supramolecular hydrogels. They further utilized molecular dynamics simulation to carry out in-depth theoretical calculation and research of the morphology and structure transformation induced by molecular co-assembly, which boosted understanding of the mechanism of multi-stage co-assembly process (Fig. 1).
Construction of FF-based diversified nano-structures and multiple responsive hydrogels by co-assembly strategy.
The research project did not only realize the multi-stage assembly and morphology transformation of FF derivatives through non-covalent interaction, but also promoted the design and development of hydrogel biomaterials with external stimulus response performance, and expanded its application range in biological fields including drug controlled release, tissue engineering, and fluorescent printing.
Drawing on the previous basis of research of biomolecular self-assembly and crystallization, recently, Ji Wei and Cai Kaiyong from Chongqing University worked with Yang Rusen from Xidian University and Ehud Gazit from Tel Aviv University in Israel and published a report on how the cocrystal arrangement mode of acetylated amino acids and bipyridine derivatives can be adjusted through the co-assembly strategy, which expanded the diversified crystal arrangement mode based on amino acid molecules, and, in turn, improved the physical and chemical properties such as fluorescence, thermal stability, mechanical strength, conductivity and piezoelectricity of the materials. Based on experimental characterization and simulation calculation, the research group carried out in-depth study on the structural transformation and performance effects induced by molecular co-assembly, which helped boost the understanding of the occurrence and mechanism of multistage co-assembly process (Fig. 2).
Acetylated glutamate induced the transformation of molecular stacking mode from a coplanar one to a herringbone one through co-assembly strategy. Such transformation improved the physicochemical properties of crystal materials like fluorescence, thermal stability, mechanical strength, conductivity and piezoelectric properties.
In the research, the co-assembly of different bipyridyl and acetylated amino acids were used to obtain diversified eutectic materials, expand the stacking mode of supramolecular co assembly, verify the feasibility of co-assembly strategy in regulating supramolecular arrangement, which provided a new idea for exploring the structure-activity relationship between molecular arrangement and biological material properties in the field of crystal engineering. The research paper has been selected as hot paper by Angew. Chem.
The research project was funded by the operating expense for basic scientific research in colleges and universities allocated by the central government and the Chongqing University Hongshen Young Scholar Start-up Funds.
Information on the paper:
1. Wei Ji*, Yiming Tang, Pandeeswar Makam, Yifei Yao, Ranran Jiao, Kaiyong Cai, Guanghong Wei*, Ehud Gazit*, Expanding the Structural Diversity and Functional Scope of Diphenylalanine-Based Peptide Architectures by Hierarchical Coassembly. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2021, 143, 17633-17645.
2. Wei Ji,* Hui Yuan, Bin Xue, Sarah Guerin, Hui Li, Lei Zhang, Yanqing Liu, Linda J. W. Shimon, Mingsu Si, Yi Cao, Wei Wang, Damien Thompson, Kaiyong Cai, Rusen Yang,* and Ehud Gazit*, Co-Assembly Induced Solid-State Stacking Transformation in Amino Acid-Based Crystals with Enhanced Physical Properties. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, e202201234.