Self assembly of coiled-coil peptide-porphyrin complexes

Bashkim Kokona, Andrew M. Kim, R. Claire Roden, Joshua P. Daniels, Brian J. Pepe-Mooney, Brian C. Kovaric, Julio C. De Paula, Karl A. Johnson, Robert Fairman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We are interested in the controlled assembly of photoelectronic materials using peptides as scaffolds and porphyrins as the conducting material. We describe the integration of a peptide-based polymer strategy with the ability of designed basic peptides to bind anionic porphyrins in order to create regulated photoelectronically active biomaterials. We have described our peptide system in earlier work, which demonstrates the ability of a peptide to form filamentous materials made up of self-assembling coiled-coil structures. We have modified this peptide system to include lysine residues appropriately positioned to specifically bind meso-tetrakis(4-sulfonatophenyl) porphine (TPPS4), a porphyrin that contains four negatively charged sulfonate groups at neutral pH. We measure the binding of TPPS4 to our peptide using UV-visible and fluorescence spectroscopies to follow the porphyrin signature. We determine the concomitant acquisition of helical secondary structure in the peptide upon TPPS4 binding using circular dichroism spectropolarimetry. This binding fosters polymerization of the peptide, as shown by absorbance extinction effects in the peptide CD spectra. The morphologies of the peptide/porphyrin complexes, as imaged by atomic force microscopy, are consistent with the coiled-coil polymers that we had characterized earlier, except that the heights are slightly higher, consistent with porphyrin binding. Evidence for exciton coupling in the copolymers is shown by red-shifting in the UV-visible data, however, the coupling is weak based on a lack of fluorescence quenching in fluorescence experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1454-1459
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 8 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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