Aggregates of charged amphiphilic molecules have been found to access a structure at elevated temperature that templates alignment of supramolecular fibrils over macroscopic scales. The thermal pathway leads to a lamellar plaque structure with fibrous texture that breaks on cooling into large arrays of aligned nanoscale fibres and forms a strongly birefringent liquid. By manually dragging this liquid crystal from a pipette onto salty media, it is possible to extend this alignment over centimetres in noodle-shaped viscoelastic strings. Using this approach, the solution of supramolecular filaments can be mixed with cells at physiological temperatures to form monodomain gels of aligned cells and filaments. The nature of the self-assembly process and its biocompatibility would allow formation of cellular wires in situ that have any length and customized peptide compositions for use in biological applications.
At a glance
- Molecular self-assembly and nanochemistry—a chemical strategy for the synthesis of nanostructures. Science 254, 1312–1319 (1991). , &
- Casting metal nanowires within discrete self-assembled peptide nanotubes. Science 300, 625–627 (2003). &
- Epitaxial self-assembly of block copolymers on lithographically defined nanopatterned substrates. Nature 424, 411–414 (2003). et al.
- Structure of the cross-beta spine of amyloid-like fibrils. Nature 435, 773–778 (2005). et al.
- Protein folding and misfolding. Nature 426, 884–890 (2003).
- The role of cardiac tissue alignment in modulating electrical function. J. Cardiovasc. Electr. 18, 1323–1329 (2007). , &
- Robust regeneration of adult sensory axons in degenerating white matter of the adult rat spinal cord. J. Neurosci. 19, 5810–5822 (1999). , , &
- Muscular thin films for building actuators and powering devices. Science 317, 1366–1370 (2007). et al.
- Genetically engineered nanofiber-like viruses for tissue regenerating materials. Nano Lett. 9, 846–852 (2009). , &
- Engineering substrate topography at the micro- and nanoscale to control cell function. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 48, 5406–5415 (2009). , &
- Functional liquid-crystalline assemblies: Self-organized soft materials. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 45, 38–68 (2006). , &
- Polymerized lyotropic liquid crystal assemblies for materials applications. Acc. Chem. Res. 34, 973–980 (2001). , , &
- 1999). & in Polymerization in Organized Media in Synthesis of Polymers (ed. Schlüter, A. D.) (Wiley-VCH,
- A fascinating method for the preparation of ultrathin fibres. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 46, 5670–5703 (2007). &
- Self-assembly and mineralization of peptide-amphiphile nanofibers. Science 294, 1684–1688 (2001). , &
- Coassembly of amphiphiles with opposite peptide polarities into nanofibers. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 1193–1200 (2005). , , &
- Quick-freeze/deep-etch visualization of age-related lipid accumulation in Bruch’s membrane. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 44, 1753–1759 (2003). et al.
- Magnetic resonance imaging of self-assembled biomaterial scaffolds. Bioconjugate Chem. 16, 1343–1348 (2005). et al.
- Glatter, O. & Kratky, O. (eds) Small Angle X-ray Scattering (Academic, 1982).
- Probing the interior of peptide amphiphile supramolecular aggregates. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127, 7337–7345 (2005). , &
- Polynucleotide adsorption to negatively charged surfaces in divalent salt solutions. Biophys. J. 90, 1164–1174 (2006). , , , &
- The internal structure of self-assembled peptide amphiphiles nanofibers. Soft. Matter. 3, 454–462 (2007). , &
- Hexatic undulations in curved geometries. Phys. Rev. E 67, 031502 (2003). &
- Dynamics of transient pores in stretched vesicles. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 96, 10591–10596 (1999). , &
- Nonlinear evolution equations for thin liquid films with insoluble surfactants. Phys. Fluids 6, 3256–3266 (1994). , &
- Long-scale evolution of thin liquid films. Rev. Mod. Phys. 69, 931–980 (1997). , &
- Kinetics of phase transition from lamellar to hexagonally packed cylinders for a triblock copolymer in a selective solvent. Macromolecules 40, 9482–9490 (2007). , , &
- Conditions for overall planarity in membranes: Applications to multicomponent membranes with lamellar morphology. Europhys. Lett. 82, 38001 (2008). , &
- Strain effects on the thermal stability of rod eutectics. Acta Metall. 37, 615–620 (1989). &
- Orientation development in thermotropic liquid crystal polymers. Polym. Eng. Sci. 23, 261–265 (1983). &
- The Ericksen Number and Deborah Number cascades in sheared polymeric nematics. Liq. Cryst. 15, 151–169 (1993). &
- Bending instability of electrically charged liquid jets of polymer solutions in electrospinning. J. Appl. Phys. 87, 4531–4547 (2000). , , &
- High-strength polyethylene fibres from solution and gel spinning. J. Mater. Sci. 20, 2281–2302 (1985). &
- Molecular alignment enhancement phenomenon of polymer formed from a liquid crystal monomer in a liquid crystal solvent. Appl. Phys. Lett. 82, 1622–1624 (2003). , , , &
- Self-organization of tissue-equivalents: the nature and role of contact guidance. Biochem. Soc. Symp. 65, 27–42 (1999).
- A cardiac muscle cell line that contracts and retains phenotypic characteristics of the adult cardiomyocyte. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 95, 2979–2984 (1998). et al.