BMHP1-derived self-assembling peptides: Hierarchically assembled structures with self-healing propensity and potential for tissue engineering applications

Fabrizio Gelain, Diego Silva, Andrea Caprini, Francesca Taraballi, Antonino Natalello, Omar Villa, Ki Tae Nam, Ronald N. Zuckermann, Silvia Maria Doglia, Angelo Vescovi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-assembling peptides (SAPs) are rapidly gaining interest as bioinspired scaffolds for cell culture and regenerative medicine applications. Bone Marrow Homing Peptide 1 (BMHP1) functional motif (PFSSTKT) was previously demonstrated to stimulate neural stem cell (NSC) viability and differentiation when linked to SAPs. We here describe a novel ensemble of SAPs, developed from the BMHP1 (BMHP1-SAPs), that spontaneously assemble into tabular fibers, twisted ribbons, tubes and hierarchical self-assembled sheets: organized structures in the nano- and microscale. Thirty-two sequences were designed and evaluated, including biotinylated and unbiotinylated sequences, as well as a hybrid peptide-peptoid sequence. Via X-ray diffraction (XRD), CD, and FTIR experiments we demonstrated that all of the BMHP1-SAPs share similarly organized secondary structures, that is, β-sheets and β-turns, despite their heterogeneous nanostructure morphology, scaffold stiffness, and effect over NSC differentiation and survival. Notably, we demonstrated the self-healing propensity of most of the tested BMHP1-SAPs, enlarging the set of potential applications of these novel SAPs. In in vitro cell culture experiments, we showed that some of these 10-mer peptides foster adhesion, differentiation, and proliferation of human NSCs. RGD-functionalized and hybrid peptide-peptoid self-assembling sequences also opened the door to BMHP1-SAP functionalization with further bioactive motifs, essential to tailor new scaffolds for specific applications. In in vivo experiments we verified a negligible reaction of the host nervous tissue to the injected and assembled BMHP1-SAP. This work will pave the way to the development of novel SAP sequences that may be useful for material science and regenerative medicine applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1859
Number of pages15
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 22 2011


  • biotinylation
  • neural stem cell
  • self-assembling peptide
  • self-healing scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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