The use of the calcitonin minimal recognition module for the design of DOPA-containing fibrillar assemblies

Galit Fichman, Tom Guterman, Lihi Adler-Abramovich, Ehud Gazit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Amyloid deposits are insoluble fibrous protein aggregates, identified in numerous diseases, which self-assemble through molecular recognition. This process is facilitated by short amino acid sequences, identified as minimal modules. Peptides corresponding to these motifs can be used for the formation of amyloid-like fibrillar assemblies in vitro. Such assemblies hold broad appeal in nanobiotechnology due to their ordered structure and to their ability to be functionalized. The catechol functional group, present in the non-coded L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) amino acid, can take part in diverse chemical interactions. Moreover, DOPA-incorporated polymers have demonstrated adhesive properties and redox activity. In this work, amyloid-like fibrillar assemblies were formed through the self-assembly of a pentapeptide containing DOPA residues, Asp-DOPA-Asn-Lys-DOPA. The design of this peptide was based on the minimal amyloidogenic recognition motif of the human calcitonin hormone, Asp-Phe-Asn-Lys-Phe, the first amyloidogenic pentapeptide identified. By substituting phenylalanine with DOPA, we obtained DOPA-functionalized amyloid-like assemblies in water. Electron microscopy revealed elongated, linear fibril-like nanometric assemblies. Secondary structure analysis indicated the presence of amyloid-characteristic β-sheet structures as well as random coil structures. Deposition of silver on the DOPA-incorporated assemblies suggested redox activity and demonstrated the applicative potential of this novel nanobiomaterial.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)726-740
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Amyloid
  • Calcitonin
  • DOPA
  • L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine
  • Self-assembly


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