Micelles obtained by aggregation of gemini surfactants containing the CCK8 peptide and a gadolinium complex

Antonella Accardo, Diego Tesauro, Anna Morisco, Gaetano Mangiapia, Mauro Vaccaro, Eliana Gianolio, Richard K. Heenan, Luigi Paduano, Giancarlo Morelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two gemini surfactants, [C18CysL5CCK8]2 and [C18CysDTPAGlu] 2, containing, respectively, the CCK8 peptide and the DTPAGlu chelating agent or its gadolinium complex have been prepared by linking lipophilic chains through a disulfide bond between two cysteine residues. The two surfactants aggregate in water solution forming pure or mixed micelles, with a critical micellar concentration in the 5 × 10-6-5 × 10-5 mol kg-1 range, as measured by fluorescence spectroscopy. As indicated by small-angle neutron scattering, the shape and size of the micelles are influenced by the temperature: increasing temperature leads to progressive reduction of the size of the supramolecular aggregates. Cylindrical structures found at lower temperatures (10-40 °C) evolve into ellipsoidal micelles at 50-80 °C. Furthermore, the surface-exposed CCK8 peptide changes its conformation above a transition temperature of approximately 45 °C, going from a β-sheet to a random-coil structure, as indicated by circular dichroism measurements. The mixed aggregate obtained by coaggregation of the two gemini-based amphiphilic compounds, [C18CysDTPAGlu(Gd)]2 and [C18CysL5CCK8]2 in 70:30 molar ratio, represents the first example of a peptide-containing gemini surfactant as a potential target-selective contrast agent in MRI. In fact, it presents a high relaxivity value of the gadolinium complex, 21.5 mM-1 s -1, and the CCK8 bioactive peptide exposed on the external surface is therefore capable of selective targeting of the cholecystokinin receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-599
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • Amphiphilic gadolinium complexes
  • CCK8 peptide
  • Micelles
  • Peptide gemini surfactant
  • Small-angle neutron scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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