Instant Hydrogelation Inspired by Inflammasomes


Huaimin Wang


Huaimin Wang, Zhaoqianqi Feng, Alvin Lu, Yujie Jiang, Hao Wu, and Bing Xu *

Author Affiliation: 

Dr. H. Wang, Ms. Z. Feng, Ms. Y. Jiang, and Prof. Dr. B. Xu Department of chemistry Brandeis University Dr. A. Lu, and Prof. H. Wu Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology Harvard Medical School


Based on the recent near-atomic structures of the PYRIN domain of ASC in the protein filament of inflammasomes and the observation of the active form of vitamin B6 (pyridoxal phosphate, P5P) modulates the self-assembly of ASC, we rationally designed an N-terminal capped nonapeptide (Nap-FFKKFKLKL, 1) to form supramolecular nanofibers consisting of alpha-helix. The addition of P5P to the solution of 1 results in a hydrogel almost instantly (about 4 seconds). Several other endogenous bioactive small molecules (e.g., pyridoxal, folinic acid, ATP, and AMP) also convert the solution of 1 to a hydrogel. As the demonstration of correlating supramolecular assemblies of peptides and the relevant protein epitopes, this work illustrates a bioinspired approach to develop supramolecular structures modulated by endogenous bioactive small molecules.