Conformation-Directed Formation of Self-Healing Diblock Copolypeptide Hydrogels via Polyion Complexation

J Am Chem Soc. 2017 Oct 25;139(42):15114-15121. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b08190. Epub 2017 Oct 12.


Synthetic diblock copolypeptides were designed to incorporate oppositely charged ionic segments that form β-sheet-structured hydrogel assemblies via polyion complexation when mixed in aqueous media. The observed chain conformation directed assembly was found to be required for efficient hydrogel formation and provided distinct and useful properties to these hydrogels, including self-healing after deformation, microporous architecture, and stability against dilution in aqueous media. While many promising self-assembled materials have been prepared using disordered or liquid coacervate polyion complex (PIC) assemblies, the use of ordered chain conformations in PIC assemblies to direct formation of new supramolecular morphologies is unprecedented. The promising attributes and unique features of the β-sheet-structured PIC hydrogels described here highlight the potential of harnessing conformational order derived from PIC assembly to create new supramolecular materials.

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

  • Hydrogels / chemical synthesis*
  • Hydrogels / chemistry*
  • Ions / chemistry
  • Molecular Conformation*
  • Peptides / chemical synthesis*
  • Peptides / chemistry*


  • Hydrogels
  • Ions
  • Peptides