Unusual Two-Step Assembly of a Minimalistic Dipeptide-Based Functional Hypergelator

Priyadarshi Chakraborty, Yiming Tang, Tomoya Yamamoto, Yifei Yao, Tom Guterman, Shai Zilberzwige-Tal, Nofar Adadi, Wei Ji, Tal Dvir, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, Guanghong Wei, Ehud Gazit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-assembled peptide hydrogels represent the realization of peptide nanotechnology into biomedical products. There is a continuous quest to identify the simplest building blocks and optimize their critical gelation concentration (CGC). Herein, a minimalistic, de novo dipeptide, Fmoc-Lys(Fmoc)-Asp, as an hydrogelator with the lowest CGC ever reported, almost fourfold lower as compared to that of a large hexadecapeptide previously described, is reported. The dipeptide self-assembles through an unusual and unprecedented two-step process as elucidated by solid-state NMR and molecular dynamics simulation. The hydrogel is cytocompatible and supports 2D/3D cell growth. Conductive composite gels composed of Fmoc-Lys(Fmoc)-Asp and a conductive polymer exhibit excellent DNA binding. Fmoc-Lys(Fmoc)-Asp exhibits the lowest CGC and highest mechanical properties when compared to a library of dipeptide analogues, thus validating the uniqueness of the molecular design which confers useful properties for various potential applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1906043
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • conductive composites
  • dipeptide
  • molecular dynamics
  • self-assembly
  • two-step gelation


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