Authors Donets, S. ; Guskova, O. ; Sommer, J.-U.
Title Searching for aquamelt behavior among silklike biomimetics during fibrillation under flow
Date 26.08.2021
Number 59197
Abstract In this paper, we elucidate a generic mechanism behind strain-induced phase transition in aqueous solutions of silk-inspired biomimetics by atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. We show the results of modeling of homopeptides polyglycine Gly30 and polyalanine Ala30 and a heteropeptide (Gly–Ala–Gly–Ala–Gly–Ser)5, i.e., the simplest and yet relevant sequences that could mimic the behavior of natural silk under stress conditions. First, we analyze hydrophobicities of the sequences by calculating the Gibbs free energy of hydration and inspecting the interchain hydrogen bonding and hydration by water. Second, the force–extension profiles are scanned and compared with the results for poly(ethylene oxide), the synthetic polymer for which the aquamelt behavior has been proved recently. Additionally, the conformational transitions of oligopeptides from coiled to extended states are characterized by a generalized order parameter and by the dependence of the solvent-accessible surface area of the chains on applied stretching. Fibrillation itself is surveyed using both the two-dimensional interchain pair correlation function and the SAXS/WAXS patterns for the aggregates formed under stress. These are compared with experimental data found in the literature on fibril structure of silk composite materials doped with oligoalanine peptides. Our results show that tensile stress introduced into aqueous oligopeptide solutions facilitates interchain interactions. The oligopeptides display both a greater resistance to extension as compared to poly(ethylene oxide) and a reduced ability for hydrogen bonding of the stretched chains between oligomers and with water. Fiber formation is proved for all simulated objects, but the most structured one is made of a heteropeptide (Gly–Ala–Gly–Ala–Gly–Ser)5: For this sequence, we obtain the highest degree of the secondary structure motifs in the fiber. We conclude that this is the most promising candidate among considered sequences to find the aquamelt behavior in further experimental studies.
Publisher Journal of Physical Chemistry B
Citation Journal of Physical Chemistry B 125 (2021) 3238-3250

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