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      Temperature and pH effects on biophysical and morphological properties of self-assembling peptide RADA16-I.

      Journal of Peptide Science
      Amino Acid Motifs, Animals, Biophysical Phenomena, Biophysics, Circular Dichroism, Homeostasis, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Isoelectric Focusing, Microscopy, Atomic Force, Models, Molecular, Nanostructures, chemistry, ultrastructure, Peptides, Protein Denaturation, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Rabbits, Temperature

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          It has been found that the self-assembling peptide RADA 16-I forms a beta-sheet structure and self-assembles into nanofibers and scaffolds in favor of cell growth, hemostasis and tissue-injury repair. But its biophysical and morphological properties, especially for its beta-sheet and self-assembling properties in heat- and pH-denatured conditions, remain largely unclear. In order to better understand and design nanobiomaterials, we studied the self-assembly behaviors of RADA16-I using CD and atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements in various pH and heat-denatured conditions. Here, we report that the peptide, when exposed to pH 1.0 and 4.0, was still able to assume a typical beta-sheet structure and self-assemble into long nanofiber, although its beta-sheet content was dramatically decreased by 10% in a pH 1.0 solution. However, the peptide, when exposed to pH 13.0, drastically lost its beta-sheet structure and assembled into different small-sized globular aggregates. Similarly, the peptide, when heat-denatured from 25 to 70 degrees C, was still able to assume a typical beta-sheet structure with 46% content, but self-assembled into small-sized globular aggregates at much higher temperature. Titration experiments showed that the peptide RADA16-I exists in three types of ionic species: acidic (fully protonated peptide), zwitterionic (electrically neutral peptide carrying partial positive and negative charges) and basic (fully deprotonated peptide) species, called 'super ions'. The unordered structure and beta-turn of these 'super ions' via hydrogen or ionic bonds, and heat Brownian motion under the above denatured conditions would directly affect the stability of the beta-sheet and nanofibers. These results help us in the design of future nanobiomaterials, such as biosensors, based on beta-sheets and environmental changes. These results also help understand the pathogenesis of the beta-sheet-mediated neuronal diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and the mechanism of hemostasis.

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