Molecular modeling and computational study of the chiral-dependent structures and properties of self-assembling diphenylalanine peptide nanotubes

Publish date :

Jun 25, 2019


The structure and properties of diphenylalanine (FF) peptide nanotubes (PNT) based on phenylalanine were investigated by various molecular modeling methods. The main approach employed semi-empirical quantum-chemical methods (PM3 and AM1). Ab initio, density functional theory methods and molecular mechanical approaches were also used. Both model structures and structures extracted from experimental crystallographic databases obtained by X-ray methods were examined. A comparison of optimized model structures and structures obtained by natural self-assembly revealed important differences depending on chirality: D and L. In both the cases, the effect of chirality on the results of self-assembly of FF PNT was established: PNT based on the D-FF has large condensation energy E0 in the transverse direction, and form thicker and shorter PNT bundles than those based on L-FF. A topological difference was established: model PNT were optimized into structures consisting of rings, while naturally self-assembled PNT consisted of helical turns. The latter nanotubes differed from the original L-FF and D-FF and formed helix structures of different chirality signs in accordance with the alternation rule of chirality due to macromolecule hierarchy. A topological transition between ring and helix turn PNT structures is discussed: self-assembled natural helix structures are favorable and their energy is lower by a value of the order of one to several eV.