pH-Responsive Capsules with a Fibril Scaffold Shell Assembled from an Amyloidogenic Peptide

Ulyana Shimanovich, Aviad Levin, Dror Eliaz, Thomas Michaels, Zenon Toprakcioglu, Birgitta Frohm, Erwin De Genst, Sara Linse, Karin S. Åkerfeldt, Tuomas P.J. Knowles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Peptides and proteins have evolved to self-assemble into supramolecular entities through a set of non-covalent interactions. Such structures and materials provide the functional basis of life. Crucially, biomolecular assembly processes can be highly sensitive to and modulated by environmental conditions, including temperature, light, ionic strength and pH, providing the inspiration for the development of new classes of responsive functional materials based on peptide building blocks. Here, it is shown that the stimuli-responsive assembly of amyloidogenic peptide can be used as the basis of environmentally responsive microcapsules which exhibit release characteristics triggered by a change in pH. The microcapsules are biocompatible and biodegradable and may act as vehicles for controlled release of a wide range of biomolecules. Cryo-SEM images reveal the formation of a fibrillar network of the capsule interior with discrete compartments in which cargo molecules can be stored. In addition, the reversible formation of these microcapsules by modulating the solution pH is investigated and their potential application for the controlled release of encapsulated cargo molecules, including antibodies, is shown. These results suggest that the approach described here represents a promising venue for generating pH-responsive functional peptide-based materials for a wide range of potential applications for molecular encapsulation, storage, and release.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2007188
Issue number26
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All co‐authors wish to thank the late Christopher, M. Dobson for fruitful scientific discussions, research guidance and support. The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Swedish Research Council No. 2015‐00143 (SL), Haverford College (KSÅ), the National Science Foundation grant CHE‐1609291, MSN Program (KSÅ), Peterhouse Cambridge (TCTM), the Swiss National Science Foundation (TCTM) and the Oppenheimer Early Career Fellowship (AL). U.S. acknowledges the financial support of the Gruber Foundation, the Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurological Diseases, Minerva foundation, and Alon fellowship (Israeli Council for Higher Education). In addition, U.S. thanks Perlman family for funding the Shimanovich Lab, at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel: “This research was made possible in part by the generosity of the Harold Perlman Family”.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • amyloid
  • capsule
  • fibrillar protein self-assembly
  • microfluidics
  • pH-responsive peptide


Dive into the research topics of 'pH-Responsive Capsules with a Fibril Scaffold Shell Assembled from an Amyloidogenic Peptide'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this