UV Light–Responsive Peptide-Based Supramolecular Hydrogel for Controlled Drug Delivery

Michal E. Roth-Konforti, Michela Comune, Michal Halperin-Sternfeld, Irena Grigoriants, Doron Shabat, Lihi Adler-Abramovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Low-molecular-weight self-assembled peptides may serve as promising hydrogelators for drug delivery applications by changing their structural network in response to external stimuli. Herein, inspired by the well-studied low-molecular-weight peptide hydrogelator, fluorenyl-methoxycarbonyl-diphenylalanine (Fmoc-FF), a novel peptide is designed and synthesized to include an ultraviolet (UV)-sensitive phototrigger. Similar to Fmoc-FF, 6-nitroveratryloxycarbonyl-diphenylalanine (Nvoc-FF) self-assembles to form a 3D, self-supporting, nanofibrous hydrogel. The Nvoc-FF hydrogel exhibits good mechanical properties with a storage modulus of 40 kPa. UV irradiation of the Nvoc-FF hydrogel encapsulating insulin-fluorescein isothiocyanate (insulin-FITC) results in the cleavage of Nvoc-FF peptide to produce unmasked FF, thereby facilitating the degradation of the hydrogel and the release of insulin-FITC. This release is in linear correlation to the irradiation time. In the present study, a first insight into this rigid, fibrous, light-responsive hydrogel is provided, allowing the fabrication of a novel drug delivery system for controlled release of large molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800588
JournalMacromolecular Rapid Communications
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • drug delivery
  • hydrogels
  • low-molecular-weight hydrogelators
  • peptides
  • photo-responsive


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