Control of Amphiphile Self-Assembly via Bioinspired Metal Ion Coordination

Knight, A. S., Larsson, J., Ren, J. M., Bou Zerdan, R., Seguin, S., Vrahas, R., Liu, J., Ren, G., Hawker, C. J.
J. Am. Chem. Soc.
140 (4), pp 1409–1414

Inspired by marine siderophores that exhibit a morphological shift upon metal coordination, hybrid peptide–polymer conjugates that assemble into different morphologies based on the nature of the metal ion coordination have been designed. Coupling of a peptide chelator, hexahistidine, with hydrophobic oligostyrene allows a modular strategy to be established for the efficient synthesis and purification of these tunable amphiphiles (oSt(His)6). Remarkably, in the presence of different divalent transition metal ions (Mn, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Cd) a variety of morphologies were observed. Zinc(II), cobalt(II), and copper(II) led to aggregated micelles. Nickel(II) and cadmium(II) produced micelles, and multilamellar vesicles were obtained in the presence of manganese(II). This work highlights the significant potential for transition metal ion coordination as a tool for directing the assembly of synthetic nanomaterials.