A self-assembly pathway to aligned monodomain gels

Nat Mater. 2010 Jul;9(7):594-601. doi: 10.1038/nmat2778. Epub 2010 Jun 13.


Aggregates of charged amphiphilic molecules have been found to access a structure at elevated temperature that templates alignment of supramolecular fibrils over macroscopic scales. The thermal pathway leads to a lamellar plaque structure with fibrous texture that breaks on cooling into large arrays of aligned nanoscale fibres and forms a strongly birefringent liquid. By manually dragging this liquid crystal from a pipette onto salty media, it is possible to extend this alignment over centimetres in noodle-shaped viscoelastic strings. Using this approach, the solution of supramolecular filaments can be mixed with cells at physiological temperatures to form monodomain gels of aligned cells and filaments. The nature of the self-assembly process and its biocompatibility would allow formation of cellular wires in situ that have any length and customized peptide compositions for use in biological applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Calcium Chloride / chemistry
  • Crystallization
  • Gels*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Liquid Crystals
  • Materials Testing
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Models, Statistical
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods
  • Temperature


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Gels
  • Peptides
  • Calcium Chloride