Peptide Nanotube Nematic Phase.
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The self-assembly of the trifluoroacetate salt of the short peptide (ala)(6)-lys (A(6)K) in water has been investigated by cryo-transmission electron microscopy and small-angle X-ray scattering. For concentrations below ca. 12%, the peptide does not self-assemble but forms a molecularly dispersed solution. Above this critical concentration, however, A(6)K self-assembles into several-micrometer-long hollow nanotubes with a monodisperse cross-sectional radius of 26 nm. Because the peptides carry a positive charge, the nanotubes are charge-stabilized. Because of the very large aspect ratio, the tubes form an ordered phase that presumably is nematic.