Functional Assemblies Emerging in Complex Mixtures of Peptides and Nucleic Acid–Peptide Chimeras

Agata Chotera, Hava Sadihov, Rivka Cohen-Luria, Pierre Alain Monnard, Gonen Ashkenasy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Striking synergy between nucleic acids and proteins is exhibited in living cells. Whether such mutual activity can be performed using simple supramolecular nucleic acid–peptide (NA-pep) architectures remains a mystery. To shed light on this question, we studied the emergence of a primitive synergy in assemblies of short DNA-peptide chimeras. Specifically, we characterized multiple structures forming along gradual mixing trajectory, in which a peptide solution was seeded with increasing amounts of NA-pep chimeras. We report on the systematic change from β-sheet-peptide-based fibrillar architectures into the spherical structures formed by the conjugates. Remarkably, we find that through forming onion-like structures, the conjugates exhibit increased DNA hybridization stability and bind small molecules more efficiently than the peptides or DNA alone. A brief discussion highlights the implications of our findings for the production of new materials and for research on the origin of life.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChemistry: A European Journal
Issue number40
Pages (from-to)10128-10135
Publication statusPublished - 17. Jul 2018


  • nanostructures
  • nucleic acids
  • peptide conjugates
  • systems chemistry


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