Functional Coiled-Coil-like Assembly by Knob-into-Hole Packing of Single Heptad Repeat

Sudipta Mondal, Vasantha Basavalingappa, Guy Jacoby, Linda J.W. Shimon, Roy Beck, Ehud Gazit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coiled-coil peptides represent the principal building blocks for structure-based design of bionanomaterials. The sequence-structure relationship and precise nanoscale ordering of the coiled-coil helices originate from the knob-into-hole (KIH) packing of side chains. The helical interface stabilized by the KIH interaction is known to have chain lengths ranging from 30 to 1000 residues. Yet the shortest peptide required for oligomerization through KIH assembly is still unknown. Here, we report that through atomic resolution a minimal seven-residue amphipathic helix forms a different type of KIH motif, termed "supramolecular KIH packing", which confers an exceptional stability to the helical dimers. Significantly, at a low pH, the peptide self-assembles into nanofibers with coiled-coil architecture resembling the natural fibrous proteins. Furthermore, hierarchical ordering of the nanofibers affords lyotropic liquid crystals composed of a shortest natural helical sequence. Thus, this study expands the sequence space for a coiled-coil folding manifold and provides another paradigm for designer nanomaterials from minimal helical sequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12630-12637
Number of pages8
JournalACS Nano
Issue number11
StatePublished - 26 Nov 2019


FundersFunder number
European Union’s Horizon 2020
Israeli Science Foundation550/15
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme694426
European Research Council


    • X-ray crystallography
    • bionanomaterials
    • helical peptide assembly
    • lyotropic liquid crystal
    • nanofibers


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