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

89 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)1845-59
Number of pages15
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 22 2011


  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Neural Stem Cells
  • Neurons
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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