Along my stay here in Bristol, I’ve seen a research group interested in the development of bio-inspired motif kits to produce well-defined three-dimensional structures. It means that one day, you can ask to your favourite building-block provider for motifs to produce supramolecular materials with specific dimensions, morphologies and even properties – handy isn’t?

I think, the scope of this research field is gonna have a massive impact in the materials science when someone would be capable to consolidate a general self-assembly theory. In my point of view, many of the articles published in this field never discuss in deep the consequence of the symmetry of the motifs or support their discussions with physical magnitudes related to the kind of secondary interactions involved.

Well, I’ve been writing more than I really wanted to say. The purpose of this entry is to share the predominant type of non-covalent interactions observed for different peptides. This useful information was published in 2006 by people from the School of Materials and Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre and the Department of Materials and Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine; both research centres based on UK.

Amino acids

Non-covalent interactions

Responsive to

Acid and basicAspartic acid (D)Glutamic acid (E)HistidineOrnithineLysine (K)Arginine (R)

Electrostatic interactions

  • pH
  • Ionic strength
PolarSerine (S)Threonine (T)Asparagine (N)Glutamine (Q)

Hydrogen bonding

  • Solvent
  • Temperature
Non-polarAlanine (A)Valine (V)Leucine (L)Isoleucine (I)Methionine (M)AromaticPhenylalanine (F)

Tyrosine (Y)


Hydrophobic sffects

  • Solvent Polarity
  • Ionic strength
  • Temperature
Conformationally Constrained/FlexibleProline (P)Glycine (G)Disulfide bridge formingCysteine (C)

Strand directing residues

  • Can induce temperature dependant helicity
  • Responsive to electrochemical stimuli

(1) Mart, R. J.; Osborne, R. D.; Stevens, M. M.; Ulijn, R. V. Soft Matter 2006, 2, 822.