We investigated supramolecular assemblies of various hydrophobic helical peptides. The assemblies were formed at the air/water interface or in aqueous medium. The hexadecapeptide, Boc-(Ala-Aib)8-OMe (BA16M), was reported to take α-helical structure by X-ray analysis. Several derivatives were prepared, which have the repeating sequence of Ala-Aib, Lys(Z)-Aib or Leu- Aib, or have the terminal chemically modified. CD spectra of the peptides indicated helical conformation in ethanol solution. The surface pressure- area isotherms of the peptide monolayers showed an inflection at the surface area corresponding to the cross section along the helix axis, and the monolayers were collapsed by further compression. All the helical peptides oriented their helix axis parallel to the air/water interface on the basis of the results of transmission IR spectra and RAS of the monolayers transferred onto substrates. A small mound was observed in the isotherm of BA16M and other derivatives, which was ascribed to the phase transition from the liquid state to the solid state. One mol% of FITC-labeled peptide was mixed into the monolayers to visualize the phase separation of the solid and liquid states at the surface pressure of the coexisting region. Various shapes of the dark domain were observed at the top of the mound in the isotherms by fluorescence microscopy. The helical peptides formed two-dimensional crystals at the air/water interface when they were compressed to the solid state. An amino- terminated helical peptide, HA16B, was suspended in an aqueous medium by a sonication method and transparent dispersion was obtained. The dynamic light scattering measurement of the dispersion revealed the particle size of 75 nm with a narrow size distribution. The molecular assembly of the helical peptide in water was called 'Peptosome', because it takes a vesicular structure.
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