Development of artificial collagens to replace the animal-derived collagens presents a challenge in the formation of safer and functional biomaterials. We report here the development of collagen-like gels by means of the self-assembly of chemically synthesized peptides. The peptides are disulfide-linked trimers of collagenous Gly-X-Y triplet repeats with self-complementary shapes. Upon cooling the peptide solutions, hydrogels of peptide supramolecules are formed by spontaneous intermolecular triple helix formation. The thermal gel-sol transition appeared to be reversible, and the transition temperatures were found to be tunable by the design of the peptides. Our systems for the formation of artificial collagen-like gels will offer possibilities for novel types of biomaterials.
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