Co-assembling peptides as defined matrices for endothelial cells

Jangwook P. Jung, Arun K. Nagaraj, Emily K. Fox, Jai S. Rudra, Jason M. Devgun, Joel H. Collier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Scopus citations


Self-assembling peptides and peptide derivatives bearing cell-binding ligands are increasingly being investigated as defined cell culture matrices and as scaffolds for regenerative medicine. In order to systematically refine such scaffolds to elicit specific desired cell behaviors, ligand display should ideally be achieved without inadvertently altering other physicochemical properties such as viscoelasticity. Moreover, for in vivo applications, self-assembled biomaterials must exhibit low immunogenicity. In the present study, multi-peptide co-assembling hydrogels based on the β-sheet fibrillizing peptide Q11 (QQKFQFQFEQQ) were designed such that they presented RGDS or IKVAV ligands on their fibril surfaces. In co-assemblies of the ligand-bearing peptides with Q11, ligand incorporation levels capable of influencing the attachment, spreading, morphology, and growth of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) did not significantly alter the materials' fibrillization, β-turn secondary structure, or stiffness. RGDS-Q11 specifically increased HUVEC attachment, spreading, and growth when co-assembled into Q11 gels, whereas IKVAV-Q11 exerted a more subtle influence on attachment and morphology. Additionally, Q11 and RGDS-Q11 were minimally immunogenic in mice, making Q11-based biomaterials attractive candidates for further investigation as defined, modular extracellular matrices for applications in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2400-2410
Number of pages11
Issue number12
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • 3-D culture
  • Biomaterial immunogenicity
  • Biomimetic material
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Self-assembly


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