Aqueous Circularly Polarized Luminescence Induced by Homopolypeptide Self-Assembly

Jinhui Jiang, Fulong Ma, Ruihua Dong, Siwei Zhang, Zicong Zhang, Haozhe Tan, Xumin Cai, Zijie Qiu, Yu Xiong*, Wei Han*, Zheng Zhao*, Ben Zhong Tang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Remarkable advances have been achieved in solution self-assembly of polypeptides from the perspective of nanostructures, mechanisms, and applications. Despite the intrinsic chirality of polypeptides, the promising generation of aqueous circularly polarized luminescence (CPL) based on their self-assembly has been rarely reported due to the weak fluorescence of most polypeptides and the indeterminate self-assembly mechanism. Here, we propose a facile strategy for achieving aqueous CPL based on the self-assembly of simple homopolypeptides modified with a terminal group featuring both twisted intramolecular charge transfer and aggregation-induced emission properties. A morphology-dependent CPL can be observed under different self-assembly conditions by altering the solvents. A nanotoroid-dispersed aqueous solution with detectable CPL can be obtained by using tetrahydrofuran as a good solvent for the self-assembly, which is attributed to the involvement of the terminal group in the chiral environment formed by the homopolypeptide chains. However, such a chiral packing mode cannot be realized in nanorods self-assembled from dioxane, resulting in an inactive CPL phenomenon. Furthermore, CPL signals can be greatly amplified by co-assembly of homopolypeptides with the achiral small molecule derived from the terminal group. This work not only provides a pathway to construct aqueous CPL-active homopolypeptide nanomaterials but also reveals a potential mechanism in the self-assembly for chiral production, transfer, and amplification in polypeptide-based nanostructures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27282-27294
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number50
Early online date8 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Catalysis
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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