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The self-assembly of polypeptides into stable, conductive, and intrinsically fluorescent biomolecular nanowires is reported. We have studied the morphology and electrical conduction of fibrils made of an elastin-related polypeptide, poly(ValGlyGlyLeuGly). These amyloid-like nanofibrils, with a diameter ranging from 20 to 250 nm, result from self-assembly in aqueous solution at neutral pH. Their morphological properties and conductivity have been investigated by atomic force microscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy, and two-terminal transport experiments at the micro- and nanoscales. We demonstrate that the nanofibrils can sustain significant electrical conduction in the solid state at ambient conditions and have remarkable stability. We also show intrinsic blue-green fluorescence of the nanofibrils by confocal microscopy analyses. These results indicate that direct (label-free) excitation can be used to investigate …
National Academy of Sciences
Publication date: 
13 Nov 2007

Loretta Laureana Del Mercato, Pier Paolo Pompa, Giuseppe Maruccio, Antonio Della Torre, Stefania Sabella, Antonio Mario Tamburro, Roberto Cingolani, Ross Rinaldi

Biblio References: 
Volume: 104 Issue: 46 Pages: 18019-18024
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences