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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


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


FundersFunder number
Advanced ERC
Argentinean Friends of Tel Aviv University
Uehara Memorial Foundation
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme694426
European Research Council
National Natural Science Foundation of China11674065
Tel Aviv University
Horizon 2020
National Key Research and Development Program of China2016YFA0501702


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

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