Peptides at the Interface: Self-Assembly of Amphiphilic Designer Peptides and Their Membrane Interaction Propensity

Karin Kornmueller, Bernhard Lehofer, Claudia Meindl, Eleonore Fröhlich, Gerd Leitinger, Heinz Amenitsch, Ruth Prassl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-assembling amphiphilic designer peptides have been successfully applied as nanomaterials in biomedical applications. Understanding molecular interactions at the peptide-membrane interface is crucial, since interactions at this site often determine (in)compatibility. The present study aims to elucidate how model membrane systems of different complexity (in particular single-component phospholipid bilayers and lipoproteins) respond to the presence of amphiphilic designer peptides. We focused on two short anionic peptides, V4WD2 and A6YD, which are structurally similar but showed a different self-assembly behavior. A6YD self-assembled into high aspect ratio nanofibers at low peptide concentrations, as evidenced by synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering and electron microscopy. These supramolecular assemblies coexisted with membranes without remarkable interference. In contrast, V4WD2 formed only loosely associated assemblies over a large concentration regime, and the peptide promoted concentration-dependent disorder on the membrane arrangement. Perturbation effects were observed on both membrane systems although most likely induced by different modes of action. These results suggest that membrane activity critically depends on the peptide's inherent ability to form highly cohesive supramolecular structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3591-3601
Number of pages11
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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