Post-assembly functionalization of supramolecular nanostructures with bioactive peptides and fluorescent proteins by native chemical ligation

Saahir Khan, Shantanu Sur, Patricia Y.W. Dankers, Ricardo M.P. Da Silva, Job Boekhoven, Taylor A. Poor, Samuel I. Stupp*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Post-assembly functionalization of supramolecular nanostructures has the potential to expand the range of their applications. We report here the use of the chemoselective native chemical ligation (NCL) reaction to functionalize self-assembled peptide amphiphile (PA) nanofibers. This strategy can be used to incorporate specific bioactivity on the nanofibers, and as a model, we demonstrate functionalization with the RGDS peptide following self-assembly. Incorporation of bioactivity is verified by the observation of characteristic changes in fibroblast morphology following NCL-mediated attachment of the signal to PA nanofibers. The NCL reaction does not alter the PA nanofiber morphology, and biotinylated RGDS peptide was found to be accessible on the nanofiber surface after ligation for binding with streptavidin-conjugated gold nanoparticles. In order to show that this strategy is not limited to short peptides, we utilized NCL to conjugate yellow fluorescent protein and/or cyan fluorescent protein to self-assembled PA nanofibers. FoÌ̂rster resonance energy transfer and fluorescence anisotropy measurements are consistent with the immobilization of the protein on the PA nanofibers. The change in electrophoretic mobility of the protein upon conjugation with PA molecules confirmed the formation of a covalent linkage. NCL-mediated attachment of bioactive peptides and proteins to self-assembled PA nanofibers allows the independent control of self-assembly and bioactivity while retaining the biodegradable peptide structure of the PA molecule and thus can be useful in tailoring design of biomaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-717
Number of pages11
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 16 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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