The non-covalent decoration of self-assembling protein fibers

ZN Mahmoud, DJ Grundy, KJ Channon, DN Woolfson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The design of self-assembling fibers presents challenges in basic science, and has potential for developing materials for applications in areas such as tissue engineering. A contemporary issue in the field is the construction of multi-component, functionalized systems. Previously, we have developed peptide-based fibers, the SAF system, that comprises two complementary peptides, which affords considerable control over assembly and morphology. Here we present a straightforward route to functionalizing the SAFs with small molecules and, subsequently, other moieties. This is achieved via non-covalent recruitment of charged peptide tags, which offers advantages such as further control, reversibility, and future prospects for developing recombinant tags. We demonstrate the concept by appending fluorescent labels and biotin (and thence gold nanoparticles) to the peptides, and visualising the resulting decorated SAFs by light and electron microscopy. The peptide tags bind in the nm–μm range, and show specificity compared with control peptides, and for the SAFs over similar α-helix-based peptide fibers.
Translated title of the contributionThe non-covalent decoration of self-assembling protein fibers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7468 - 7474
Number of pages7
Volume31 (29)
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


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