The present invention is directed to a composition useful for making homogeneously mineralized self assembled peptide-amphiphile nanofibers and nanofiber gels. The composition is generally a solution comprised of a positively or negatively charged peptide-amphiphile and a like signed ion from the mineral. Mixing this solution with a second solution containing a dissolved counter-ion of the mineral and/or a second oppositely charged peptide amphiphile, results in the rapid self assembly of the peptide-amphiphiles into a nanofiber gel and templated mineralization of the ions. Templated mineralization of the initially dissolved mineral cations and anions in the mixture occurs with preferential orientation of the mineral crystals along the fiber surfaces within the nanofiber gel. One advantage of the present invention is that it results in homogenous growth of the mineral throughout the nanofiber gel. Another advantage of the present invention is that the nanofiber gel formation and mineralization reactions occur in a single mixing step and under substantially neutral or physiological pH conditions. These homogeneous nanostructured composite materials are useful for medical applications especially the regeneration of damaged bone in mammals. This invention is directed to the synthesis of peptide-amphiphiles with more than one amphiphilic moment and to supramolecular compositions comprised of such multi-dimensional peptide-amphiphiles. Supramolecular compositions can be formed by self assembly of multi-dimensional peptide-amphiphiles by mixing them with a solution comprising a monovalent cation.
The United States government may have certain rights to this invention pursuant to Grant Nos. N00014-99-1-0239/P00001, DMR-9996253, and DE-FGO2-00ER45810 from respectively, the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy to Northwestern University.