Biomacromolecules, Vol.22, No.6, 2563-2572, 2021
Redox-Mediated Reversible Supramolecular Assemblies Driven by Switch and Interplay of Peptide Secondary Structures
The construction of reversible supramolecular self-assembly in vivo remains a significant challenge. Here, we demonstrate the redox-triggered reversible supramolecular self-assembly governed by the "check and balance" of two secondary conformations within a brushlike peptide-selenopolypeptide conjugate. The conjugate constitutes a polypeptide backbone whose side chain contains selenoether functional moieties and double bonds to be readily grafted with beta-sheet-prone short-peptide NapFFC. The backbone of the conjugate initially assumes a robust and rigid a-helical conformation, which inhibits the supramolecular assembly of the short peptide in the side chain and yields an overall irregular aggregate morphology under native/ reduced conditions. Upon oxidation of the selenoether to more hydrophilic selenoxide, the backbone helix switches to a flexible and disordered conformation, which unleashes the side-chain NapFFC self-assembly into nanofibrils via the adoption of beta-sheet conformation. The reversible switch of the supramolecular morphology enables efficient loading and tumor-microenvironment-triggered release of anticancer drugs for in vivo cancer treatment with satisfactory efficacy and biocompatibility. The interplay and interaction between two well-defined secondary structures within one scaffold offer tremendous opportunity for the design and construction of functional supramolecular biomaterials.