Dynamic covalent chemistry in aid of peptide self-assembly

Jan W. Sadownik, Rein V. Ulijn

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Self-assembled peptide systems have been widely studied in the context of gaining understanding of the rules that govern biomolecular processes and increasingly as new bio-inspired nanomaterials. Such materials may be designed to be highly dynamic, displaying adaptive and self-healing properties. This review focuses on recent approaches, which exploit reversible covalent and noncovalent chemistry in combination with peptide-based self-assembly. Selected examples of recent advances include sulphur and nitrogen-based reversible reactions, metal-ligand coordination and enzyme-assisted transamidation that lead to structures such as catenanes, nanofibres, beta-hairpins and coiled-coil assemblies. It is demonstrated that these structures give rise to nanomaterials with emergent properties that are highly sensitive and adaptive to external conditions and may allow for in vitro evolution of novel peptide nanostructures via templating or self-recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-411
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • biomolecular processes
  • peptide self-assembly
  • dynamic covalent chemistry
  • bio-inspired nanomaterials


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