Publication Details

Tiangtrong, P., Thamwattana, N. & Baowan, D. (2016). Modelling water molecules inside cyclic peptide nanotubes. Applied Nanoscience, 6 (3), 345-357.


Cyclic peptide nanotubes occur during the selfassembly process of cyclic peptides. Due to the ease of synthesis and ability to control the properties of outer surface and inner diameter by manipulating the functional side chains and the number of amino acids, cyclic peptide nanotubes have attracted much interest from many research areas. A potential application of peptide nanotubes is their use as artificial transmembrane channels for transporting ions, biomolecules and waters into cells. Here, we use the Lennard-Jones potential and a continuum approach to study the interaction of a water molecule in a cyclo[(-DAla- L-Ala)4-] peptide nanotube. Assuming that each unit of a nanotube comprises an inner and an outer tube and that a water molecule is made up of a sphere of two hydrogen atoms uniformly distributed over its surface and a single oxygen atom at the centre, we determine analytically the interaction energy of the water molecule and the peptide nanotube. Using this energy, we find that, independent of the number of peptide units, the water molecule will be accepted inside the nanotube. Once inside the nanotube, we show that a water molecule prefers to be off-axis, closer to the surface of the inner nanotube. Furthermore, our study of two water molecules inside the peptide nanotube supports the finding that water molecules form an array of a 1 - 2 - 1 - 2 file inside peptide nanotubes. The theoretical study presented here can facilitate thorough understanding of the behaviour of water molecules inside peptide nanotubes for applications, such as artificial transmembrane channels.



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