A new peptide amphiphile (PA) called C16-W3K has hierarchical structures, presenting unique solution states, micelle structures, and secondary structures. In this work, the effects of salt (sodium dihydrogenorthophosphate) concentration on the hierarchical structural transitions of the C16-W3K solution due to its active hydrogen bonding in the peptide were discussed. In order to analyze the effects of salt on the structural transitions, the mechanical and structural analyses were conducted by viscosity measurements, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and circular dichroic (CD) spectroscopy. It was found that the C16-W3K solutions with different salt concentrations presented different multi-scale structural transitions from spherical micelles with α-helix molecular conformations in the sol state to wormlike micelles with β-sheet conformations in the gel state. Additionally, we found that the speed of transition increased as the salt concentration increased and the conformational ratio of β-sheet to α-helix in the solutions increased with the increase in the salt concentration.
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Otsuka, T., Hotta, A. Effects of salt concentrations on the structural transitions of peptide-amphiphile solution. MRS Online Proceedings Library 1622, 147–152 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1557/opl.2014.40