Gharaei, Robabeh, Tronci, Giuseppe, Davies, Robert P., Goswami, Parikshit and Russell, Stephen J. (2016) An Investigation into the Nano/Micro-Architecture of Electrospun Poly (ε-Caprolactone) and Self-Assembling Peptide Fibers. MRS Advances, 1 (11). pp. 711-716. ISSN 2059-8521

Self-assembling peptides (SAPs) have the ability to spontaneously assemble into ordered nanostructures enabling the manufacture of ‘designer’ nanomaterials. The reversible molecular association of SAPs has been shown to offer great promise in therapeutics via for example, the design of biomimetic assemblies for hard tissue regeneration. This could be further exploited for novel nano/micro diagnostic tools. However, self-assembled peptide gels are often associated with inherent weak and transient mechanical properties. Their incorporation into polymeric matrices has been considered as a potential strategy to enhance their mechanical stability. This study focuses on the incorporation of an 11-residue peptide, P11-8 (peptide sequence: CH3CO-Gln-Gln-Arg-Phe-Orn-Trp-Orn-Phe-Glu-Gln-Gln-NH2) within a fibrous scaffold of poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL). In this study an electrospinning technique was used to fabricate a biomimetic porous scaffold out of a solution of P11-8 and PCL which resulted in a biphasic structure composed of submicron fibers (diameter of 100-700 nm) and nanofibers (diameter of 10-100 nm). The internal morphology of the fabric and its micro-structure can be easily controlled by changing the peptide concentration. The secondary conformation of P11-8 was investigated in the as-spun fibers by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy and it is shown that peptide self-assembly into β-sheet tapes has taken place during fiber formation and the deposition of the fibrous web.

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