Deciphering the Rules for Amino Acid Co-Assembly Based on Interlayer Distances

Santu Bera, Sudipta Mondal, Yiming Tang, Guy Jacoby, Elad Arad, Tom Guterman, Raz Jelinek, Roy Beck, Guanghong Wei, Ehud Gazit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metabolite materials are extremely useful to obtain functional bioinspired assemblies with unique physical properties for various applications in the fields of material science, engineering, and medicine by self-assembly of the simplest biological building blocks. Supramolecular co-assembly has recently emerged as a promising extended approach to further expand the conformational space of metabolite assemblies in terms of structural and functional complexity. Yet, the design of synergistically co-assembled amino acids to produce tailor-made functional architectures is still challenging. Herein, we propose a design rule to predict the supramolecular co-assembly of naturally occurring amino acids based on their interlayer separation distances observed in single crystals. Using diverse experimental techniques, we demonstrate that amino acids with comparable interlayer separation strongly interact and co-assemble to produce structural composites distinctly different from their individual properties. However, such an interaction is hampered in a mixture of differentially layer-separated amino acids, which self-sort to generate individual characteristic structures. This study provides a different paradigm for the modular design of supramolecular assemblies based on amino acids with predictable properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1703-1712
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number2
StatePublished - 26 Feb 2019


  • Amino acid
  • Co-assembly
  • Composite biomaterials
  • Interlayer distance
  • Supramolecular β-sheet


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