Researchers have brought to light probably for the first time the possibility of attaching self-assembling beta peptides onto dissimilar organic molecules. Posing challenges to bioengineers earlier, some molecules could now be put to use to create new varieties of materials. This research has been put out in the journal APL Bioengineering. Including a scaffold that could bear the growth of nerve cells, a range of beta-foldamers was aimed to prepare when dissimilar compounds bound to beta peptides were tested by the researchers.

Extra carbon in beta peptides causes molecules to become hardier against the body’s peptide-breaking enzymes. Moreover, beta peptides are self-assembling. They could build the sticky molecules themselves; bioengineers only need to cap their amino end.

Beta Peptide-based Structures Provide Bioscaffolding for Brain Meshes

An author of the study, Mark Del Borgo said that even though a very small peptide had something in the middle of it, it was quite surprising for the researchers to see that it was still able to assemble. Del Borgo continued saying they assemble completely on their own, no matter the way they are made up. One of their best characteristics is that they are entirely sequence-dependent. Keeping arginylglycylaspartic acid (RGD) in focus, the researchers carried out an investigation of their rigid and flexible linking molecules for their beta-foldamers’ filler.

The researchers cultured a network of neurons on a mesh constructed with the help of beta-foldamers having RGD at the center. The team found that the neurons properly shared information and conducted impulses between each other. According to Del Borgo, bioscaffolding for brain meshes might be provided by beta peptide-based structures, helping with the coordination of neuron growth post a traumatic brain injury or stroke.