HomeNanotechnologyControlling supramolecular filament chirality of hydrogel by co-assembly of enantiomeric fragrant peptides...

Controlling supramolecular filament chirality of hydrogel by co-assembly of enantiomeric fragrant peptides | Journal of Nanobiotechnology


As proven in Fig. 1, we designed low molecular weight (LMW) constructing blocks based mostly on the next rationales: (i) Tryptophan-tyrosine (WY) are favorable amino acid composition on the protein–protein interface, which have interaction in hydrogen bonding and π–π stacking [27,28,29]; (ii) (Naphthalene-2-ly) acetyl group (Nap) offers sturdy intermolecular aromatic-aromatic interactions to allow self-assembly and preserve the secondary construction of brief peptides [30]; (iii) Phenylalanine is a well known amino acid to type amyloid-like deposits [31]. Due to this fact, we synthesized L (LMW-L1) and D enantiomer (LMW-D1) of brief peptide 2-(naphthalene-2-yl)acetic-Trp-Tyr-Phe utilizing strong part peptide synthesis (Extra file 1: Scheme S1) utilizing 2-chlorotrityl chloride resin and the corresponding Nα-Fmoc-protected amino acids with aspect chains correctly protected. We used excessive efficiency liquid chromatography (HPLC) to purify all of the molecules and characterised them by NMR and LC–MS (Extra file 1: Figs. S2, S3, S8, S9).

Fig. 1
figure 1

Chemical constructions of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1, and the illustration of self-assembly mechanisms for 3 sorts of low molecular weight (LMW) hydrogels that fashioned at pH 7.4 aqueous resolution. Homodimerization of LMW-L1 or LMW-D1 varieties hydrogel with isotropic or anisotropic nanofibers, whereas the combination of enantiomer LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 co-assembles to type chiral nanofibrous hydrogel consisting of heterodimers. The cyan dotted line represents hydrogen bonding

We first look at the hydrogelation and self-assembly efficiency of the molecules. We used the heating–cooling technique to type a hydrogel, a typical technique to induce gelation [32]. After heating at 75 °C for 1 min, the answer of the hydrogelator dissolves fully after which cooling results in hydrogelation. Dissolving in phosphate buffer (pH 7.4) at 0.3 wt%, LMW-L1 or LMW-D1 varieties a translucent hydrogel (Extra file 1: Fig. S14) inside 10 min by heating–cooling technique. Additional gelation means measurement reveals that LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 have related essential gelation focus (CGC) of 0.2 wt%. Apparently, the equimolar mixing (0.3 wt %) of enantiomers resulted in speedy gelation inside 5 min to type a racemic hydrogel with wonderful stability at room temperature for a number of months. Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) and AFM photographs point out that LMW-L1 varieties hydrogel consisting of randomly entangled hole nanofibers with a mean diameter and top of 10 nm and 10 nm, respectively. In distinction, the hydrogel of LMW-D1 composes of terribly lengthy arrays of aligned hole nanofibrous bundles. The typical diameter and top is 24 nm and 9 nm, respectively (Fig. 2; Extra file 1: Figs. S15–S17), which differs from current work displaying that L and D enantiomers of the peptide have related morphologies [18, 33,34,35]. The equimolar combination of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 assembles into supramolecular left-handed nanohelices with a diameter and top of 19 nm and seven nm (Fig. 2c, f; Extra file 1: Figs. S15–S17), respectively. These outcomes recommend the feasibility of enantiomeric mixing to induce supramolecular chirality, which has not been reported beforehand. Moreover, to remove the pre-formed nanostructures through the peptide purification earlier than the meeting, we dissolve the LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 in 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-2-propanol (HFIP), respectively, after freeze- drying, we carry out the co-assembly experiments. The equimolar combination of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 might additionally type nanohelices (Extra file 1: Fig. S18), in step with the above observations.

Fig. 2
figure 2

Cryo-EM and AFM photographs of hydrogels fashioned by (a, d) LMW-L1, (b, e) LMW-D1, (c, f) equimolar combination of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1. Scale bar in ac is 100 nm. g CD and h FTIR spectra of hydrogels in ac. The focus of LMW-L1 or LMW-D1 is 0.3 wt%

To analyze the secondary construction of hydrogels, we employed round dichroism (CD) and Fourier remodel infrared spectroscope (FTIR). The CD spectrum (Fig. 2g) of LMW-L1 displays two destructive peaks situated at 192 nm and 210 nm, which correspond to the π–π* transition and n–π* transition of peptide chromophores, and one optimistic peak at 232 nm, which might be attributed to the exciton coupling of the naphthalene chromophores.[36] The hydrogel of LMW-D1 reveals a mirror symmetry to LMW-L1 hydrogel. The CD spectrum from the equimolar combination of enantiomers (experimental) shouldn’t be an identical to the easy sum (theoretical) of two single-component spectra (Fig. 2g), suggesting the co-assembly of enantiomers [33, 37]. Moreover, we recorded the HT information with the measurement of the CD alerts (Extra file 1: Fig. S19). We accounted for the contribution of sunshine scattering from the PBS, and the HT information represented the corresponding absorbance of the hydrogels. Within the HT spectrum, the hydrogels confirmed related absorbance in UV–vis spectra. They exhibit three absorption peaks situated round 190 nm, 220–230 nm, and 280–290 nm, similar to the π–π* transition, n–π* transition, and the absorbance of naphthalene chromophore [20], respectively. In-situ FTIR spectroscopy reveals that the hydrogels fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 exhibit sturdy amide I stretch at 1615 cm−1, 1623 cm−1, and 1635 cm−1 (Fig. 2h), which similar to the β-sheet secondary construction [23]. In distinction, the hydrogel co-assembled by equimolar of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 exhibit the purple shift with two absorption peaks at 1633 cm−1 and 1626 cm−1, indicating the co-assembly property.

To additional examine the interplay between LMW-L1 and LMW-D1, we look at the self-assembly efficiency of those enantiomers at numerous relative ratios by high-resolution TEM. Gelation take a look at signifies that the combination of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 at 0.3 wt% varieties steady hydrogels regardless of the completely different relative concentrations of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 (Extra file 1: Fig. S14, Desk S2). As proven in Fig. 3a–i, supramolecular helical constructions progressively developed with the rising proportion of LMW-D1, and the helical nanofibers represent virtually 100% of nanostructures on the molar ratio of 1:1. Furthermore, the hydrogel primarily consists of isotropic nanofibers when LMW-L1 is the key part, whereas anisotropic nanofibers are fashioned with the rise of LMW-D1 (Fig. 3a-i; Extra file 1: Fig. S20). These outcomes, along with Cryo-EM experiments of hydrogels, point out that drying has little impact on the constructions in our system [38], additional suggesting that the supramolecular chiral fibers are fashioned by the co-assembly of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1. This remark additionally demonstrates that straightforward stoichiometric co-assembly of biomolecular enantiomers is a brand new technique to tune the chirality and alignment of nanofibers [26].

Fig. 3
figure 3

TEM photographs of hydrogel fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 at a molar ratio of (a) 1:0, (b) 10:1, (c) 5:1, (d) 2:1, (e) 1:1, (f) 1:2, (g) 1:5, (h) 1:10, and (i) 0:1. Scale bar is 100 nm. j Rheology outcomes (n = 3) and ok CD spectra of hydrogels. l The wavelength offset in UV–vis spectra. m The depth of 328 nm in fluorescence spectra in dependence of LMW-L1’s proportion

We subsequent measure the mechanical properties of the above hydrogels with rheometry. The hydrogel fashioned by the equimolar combination of enantiomers displays the best rigidity, over 4 and 11 folds higher than that of the hydrogel fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1, respectively (Fig. 3j; Extra file 1: Figs. S21, S22, Desk S3). Particularly, we might observe extra anisotropic nanofibers within the hydrogel with the rise of quantity of LMW-D1, and the mechanical power of the corresponding hydrogel decreases progressively (Fig. 3j). The storage modulus of hydrogel fashioned by LMW-D1 reaches the bottom, which is in step with the remark of Adams et al. within the dipeptide system [22]. Adjusting the enantiomer ratios permits us to modulate the mechanical properties of the supramolecular hydrogels. Extra particularly, with the rise of LMW-D1, the storage modulus of hydrogels will increase first after which decreases, which attained the best worth on the molar ratio of 1:1. Nonetheless, the values of storage modulus present somewhat distinction with the alternation of molar ratio from 1:0 to 0:1. The typical storage modulus is 124.7 ± 28.4 Pa (1:0), 80.7 ± 17.6 Pa (10:1), 81. 6 ± 5.1 Pa (5:1), 215.7 ± 30.3 Pa (2:1), 558.4 ± 46.9 Pa (1:1), 182.4 ± 53.2 Pa (1:2), 85.1 ± 10.6 Pa (1:5), 51.6 ± 14.1 Pa (1:10), and 48.2 ± 2.0 Pa (0:1), respectively. The molar ratio-dependent CD research point out that the sign at 232 nm progressively decreases with the rise of LMW-D1’s content material. The CD sign approaches virtually the baseline when the molar ratio is 1:1, the place the inter-chromophore orientation is chiral however racemic (Fig. 3ok), revealing the co-assembly state within the supramolecular chirality. Within the UV–vis spectra, the hydrogels at completely different molar ratios of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 present a redshift in comparison with monomers (Extra file 1: Fig. S23a), indicating the formation of aggregates. Nonetheless, the hydrogel fashioned by equimolar ratio of enantiomers solely reveals somewhat redshift of 1 nm (Fig. 3l), indicating the interplay of racemic inter-chromophores. The emission spectra (Fig. 3m) of hydrogels recommend the sturdy interplay between LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 inside chiral nanofibers. For instance, the weakest emission at 328 nm of an equal molar combination of enantiomers means that the aggregation suppresses most fluorescence (Extra file 1: Fig. S23c; Fig. 3m), almost definitely as a result of power switch from the monomeric to the excimeric Nap group [39].

To review the molecular packing of LMWs inside nanofibrous hydrogels, in situ broad angle X-ray diffraction (WAXS) experiments had been carried out. We observe the uniform diffraction rings similar to the d spacing of 1.62 Å, 1.98 Å, 2.80 Å, and three.26 Å for LMW-L1 (Fig. 4a). The diffractions of 1.62 Å and 1.98 Å point out the periodic distance between adjoining peptide and the two.80 Å and three.26 Å diffraction attribute to the periodic intermolecular hydrogen bonding and π–π stacking between adjoining peptide segments throughout the β-sheet secondary construction. With the rising proportion of LMW-D1, there seem two orientational alerts similar to the d spacing of three.91 Å and 4.40 Å (Extra file 1: Fig. S24), indicating the orientational order of nanofibers throughout the hydrogel and the formation of well-aligned nanofibers is pushed by sturdy π–π interplay. Particularly, the hydrogel co-assembled by an equimolar combination of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 displays the consecutive and powerful diffraction rings, suggesting the homogeneity of nanostructures within the hydrogels (Fig. 4b). Nonetheless, the hydrogel of LMW-D1 reveals crystal-like discrete diffraction rings (Fig. 4c), probably as a result of inflexible anisotropic nanofibers throughout the hydrogels [40]. Moreover, the hydrogel of LMW-D1 additionally displays the birefringent domains (Fig. 4e), whereas the opposite two sorts of hydrogels seem total isotropic with no birefringence (Fig. 4d, f). These outcomes additional help that the easy combination of enantiomers might management the supramolecular chirality and alignment of nanofibers.

Fig. 4
figure 4

ac In situ WAXS patterns and (df) birefringence of hydrogels fashioned by (a, d) LMW-L1, (b, e) LMW-D1, and (c, f) equimolar combination of two enantiomers. Scale bar is 100 μm

We subsequent use NMR additional to analyze the particular molecular packing throughout the assembled nanostructures. In contrast with the monomer in d6-DMSO, 1H NMR alerts of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 in D2O transfer to the decrease subject with agminated and broadened peaks, revealing the formation of assemblies (Fig. 5a; Extra file 1: Fig. S25) [41]. The aggregation of peaks throughout the fragrant area is extra apparent. Along with construction–exercise relationship research, these outcomes recommend the significance of the aromatic-aromatic interplay within the formation of nanostructures (Extra file 1: Figs. S4–S7, S10–S13, S26, S27). Furthermore, the 1H NMR sign of the enantiomeric combination shouldn’t be the easy sum of the LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 spectra, additional demonstrating that the chiral nanostructures are fashioned by means of co-assembly. Diffusion-ordered NMR spectroscopy (DOSY) reveals that the diffusion coefficient of hydrogel fashioned by LMW-L1, LMW-D1, and their equimolar combination is 2.213 × 10–10 m2 s−1, 2.529 × 10–10 m2 s−1, and a couple of.275 × 10–10 m2 s−1 (Extra file 1: Fig. S28–30), respectively. These outcomes recommend that LMW-L1 and enantiomeric combination type dimers and trimers, whereas the nanostructure fashioned by LMW-D1 consists of monomers and dimers [42]. Moreover, we used 2D nuclear Overhauser impact spectroscopy (2D NOESY) to analyze the H–H correlation (Extra file 1: Fig. S31–S33). Shut contacts (< 3 Å) are noticed between the CH in Nap (δ = 7.43 ppm) and CH2 in F and W (δ = 2.94, 3.55 ppm). We additionally discover the shut contacts between CH in Nap (δ = 7.51 ppm) and F (δ = 6.99 ppm), CH in W (δ = 7.12, 7.05 ppm) and Y (δ = 6.61, 6.58 ppm) (Fig. 5b). The correlation in spatiality of Nap with F, Nap with W, and W with Y attribute to the co-assembly of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 (Fig. 1). Moreover, the temperature-dependent 1H NMR spectra present that the NMR alerts moved to the decrease subject when the temperature elevated from 25 ℃ to 95 ℃, and the form of alerts modified. The outcomes point out that the aggregated state of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 is dissociating. Nonetheless, the aggregated state of the peaks couldn’t be disturbed completely even at 95 ℃ (5 min), indicating the mixtures nonetheless maintain the co-assembly state, revealing the sturdy stability of nanostructure co-assembled by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 (Fig. 5c, d).

Fig. 5
figure 5

a 1H NMR spectrum of nanostructures fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 in deuterated PBS. b 2D NOESY spectrum of nanostructures fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 at a molar ratio of 1:1. Shut contacts are displaying in coloured circles. c, d 1H NMR spectrum of nanostructures fashioned by equal molar ratio of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 in deuterated PBS at completely different temperature from 25 ºC to 95 ºC, the 1H NMR spectrum of nanostructures was detected each 10 ºC. The overall focus of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 is 0.1 wt%.

We subsequent carry out molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to analyze the molecular interactions through the self-assembly processes. The MD simulations had been carried out by the Gromacs software program bundle [43] underneath the Amber99SB-ILDN drive subject [44]. Particularly, 50 LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 molecules at a ratio of 1:0, 1:1, and 0:1 are randomly added into three point out 8 nm periodic boundary situation (PBC) bins, individually, then the bins are full of TIP3P water molecules [45]. We carried out 5000 steepest descent steps and 5000 conjugate gradient minimization steps to attain power minimization of the system. Then a 200 ps restraint simulation at a time step of 1 fs was carried out within the NPT ensemble to make water molecules loosen up, adopted by manufacturing simulation of 100 ns within the NPT ensemble at a temperature of 398.15 Okay. We used the Particle Mesh Ewald (PME) technique [46] to deal with long-range electrostatic interactions with a cut-off worth of 1.0 nm after which analyzed the MD trajectory [47]. The peptides undertake the random association at 0 ns. Nonetheless, the nanostructures fashioned by LMW-L1 and an equimolar combination of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 might quickly type aggregates inside 4 ns (Fig. 6a–c), which is quicker than the nanostructure fashioned by LMW-D1. The three sorts of aggregates are inclined to stabilize after 8 ns and 20 ns. Furthermore, the state of equimolar combination of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 at 20 ns is extra just like the ultimate state (100 ns), which is completely different from the aggregates fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1, respectively. Lastly, LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 might type cylinder-like aggregates, and the diameter of LMW-D1 is bigger than LMW-L1, consisting with the remark by TEM. The cylinder-like aggregates fashioned by an equimolar combination of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 present the nonuniform diameter, just like helix-like nanostructures (Extra file 1: Fig. S34). Moreover, we carry out the MD calculations on homodimers and heterodimers fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1. We might observe the intermolecular hydrogen bonding between two N–H, C=O and COOH, in addition to π–π stacking between Nap within the homodimers fashioned by LMW-L1 (Fig. 6d). Within the homodimers fashioned by LMW-D1, hydrogen bonds between two N–H, N–H and C=O, in addition to π–π stacking, stabilize the construction. Combining with the 2D DOSY outcomes, the distinction between intermolecular interactions and mixture state might contribute to the nanofibers at completely different morphology fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1. Nonetheless, the hydrogen bonding between two O–H and COOH appeared within the heterodimers fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1, which have by no means been noticed in homodimers. In the meantime, we hardly observe the direct interplay between LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 themselves. As well as, the relative complete energies for LMW-L1-LMW-L1 and LMW-D1-LMW-D1 are − 169.1 kJ/mol and − 180.2 kJ/mol, respectively, whereas the relative complete power for heterodimer of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 is − 186.8 kJ/mol (Fig. 6e), indicating that the LMW-L1/LMW-D1 hetero-interactions are extra favorable than the homo-interactions. The MD simulations additionally present the sturdy π–π stacking between Nap (LMW-L1) and F (LMW-D1), and Nap (LMW-D1) and W (LMW-L1) (Fig. 6c) in chiral nanofiber, agreeing with the 2D NOESY outcomes. These outcomes recommend that the intramolecular hydrogen bonding and π–π stacking between Nap promote the self-assembly of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1, respectively.

Fig. 6
figure 6

Spatiotemporal evolution of the simulated nanostructures fashioned by (a) LMW-L1, (b) LMW-D1, and (c) equimolar combination of two enantiomers at completely different timepoint. d Optimized constructions of homodimers and heterodimers by way of MD calculation. e Relative complete energies for homodimers and heterodimers. The cyan dotted line represents the hydrogen bonding

The viscoelasticity and supramolecular chirality of a hydrogel play necessary roles in controlling cell adhesion and morphologies. Due to this fact, we examine the cytocompatibility and cell adhesion of the above hydrogels to judge their potential functions in tissue engineering and regenerative medication. Stay/lifeless assay reveals wonderful biocompatibility of hydrogels in 2D cell tradition (Fig. 7), as evidenced by incubating human cervical most cancers cells (HeLa) on prime of the 0.3 wt% hydrogels. Apparently, the inhabitants of HeLa cells differs within the hydrogels with completely different mechanical properties. Particularly, extra cells could be discovered on the hydrogel with the best mechanical power (Figs. 7b–f, 3j; Extra file 1: S35). We additionally discover that HeLa cells rising on LWM-L1 hydrogel are inclined to type mixture whereas spreading properly on the hydrogel with excessive LMW-D1 content material (Fig. 7g–ok). When the HeLa cells are situated on the LWM-L1 hydrogel, the cytoskeleton of cells is spherical, and the cells are shut to one another. For the cells rising on different kinds of hydrogels, the cells are dispersive, and the microtubules prolong by means of the entire cell physique. To quantify the impact of various hydrogels on HeLa cell adhesion, we consider the morphology (circularity) of cells. Quantitative measurement of the adherent HeLa cells reveals that the circularity index is lowest for hydrogels fashioned by equimolar LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 (Fig. 7i, m), which is decrease than the HeLa cells incubated with tradition medium, the outcomes are in step with the cell adherent quantity, indicating the favorable adhesion property [48]. To additional reveal the biocompatibility of our hydrogels, we subsequent carry out 3D cell tradition by the hydrogels for the reason that speedy formation of hydrogels ensures the homogeneous distribution of cells (Extra file 1: Fig. S36). Stay-dead assays by CLSM present that the cells distribute homogeneously within the hydrogel. Throughout the tradition interval, the cells are alive in all of the examined hydrogels, as evidenced by the inexperienced fluorescence from the cells, indicating the promising software of our hydrogels in 3D cell tradition. We additionally examine the affect of our hydrogels on three different cell traces, together with two most cancers cell traces (Saos-2 and Neuro-2a) and one regular cell line (HS-5) (Extra file 1: Figs. S37–S39). The outcomes present that the cells situated on the hydrogels fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 at completely different molar ratio symbolize versatile morphologies and the chiral supramolecular hydrogels fashioned by equimolar of LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 exhibit superior functionality in the direction of 2D cell tradition, which recommend the broad feasibility of our hydrogel for controlling the adhesion and morphologies of assorted cell traces. These outcomes collectively recommend {that a} easy combination of enantiomers might be a facile technique to tune each mechanical properties and supramolecular chirality of peptidic hydrogel for cell adhesion and morphologies.

Fig. 7
figure 7

a 2D cell tradition process. i. The assorted hydrogels are unfold on the underside of 96-well plate; ii. The completely different sorts of cells are seeded on the floor of hydrogels; iii. Stay/lifeless assay or iv. Tubulin tracker staining. Stay-dead assay (bf) and tubulin staining (gok) of HeLa cells incubated on the hydrogels fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 at a molar ratio of b, g 1:0, c, h 5:1, d, i 1:1, e, j 1:5, and f, ok 0:1 after 24 h. Scale bar of bf and gok is 50 μm and 5 μm, respectively. l The statistical evaluation of cell adhesive and (m) circularity quantification of HeLa cells incubated on hydrogels fashioned by LMW-L1 and LMW-D1 at completely different molar ratio

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