Unfolding a molecular trefoil derived from a zwitterionic metallopeptide to form self-assembled nanostructures

Ye Zhang, Ning Zhou, Junfeng Shi, Susan Sondej Pochapsky, Thomas C. Pochapsky, Bei Zhang, Xixiang Zhang, Bing Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

While used extensively by nature to control the geometry of protein structures, and dynamics of proteins, such as self-organization, hydration forces and ionic interactions received less attention for controlling the behaviour of small molecules. Here we describe the synthesis and characterization of a novel zwitterionic metallopeptide consisting of a cationic core and three distal anionic groups linked by self-assembling peptide motifs. 2D NMR spectra, total correlated spectroscopy and nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy, show that the molecule exhibits a three-fold rotational symmetry and adopts a folded conformation in dimethyl sulfoxide due to Coulombic forces. When hydrated in water, the molecule unfolds to act as a self-assembling building block of supramolecular nanostructures. By combining ionic interactions with the unique geometry from metal complex and hydrophobic interactions from simple peptides, we demonstrate a new and effective way to design molecules for smart materials through mimicking a sophisticated biofunctional system using a conformational switch.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 19 2015

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