Interaction patterns for staggered assembly of fibrils from semiflexible chains

Arnoud Jongeling, Carsten Svaneborg, Renko de Vries*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The design of colloidal interactions to achieve target self-assembled structures has especially been done for compact objects such as spheres with isotropic interaction potentials, patchy spheres and other compact objects with patchy interactions. Inspired by the self-assembly of collagen-I fibrils and intermediate filaments, we here consider the design of interaction patterns on semiflexible chains that could drive their staggered assembly into regular (para)crystalline fibrils. We consider semiflexible chains composed of a finite number of types of interaction beads (uncharged hydrophilic, hydrophobic, positively charged and negatively charged) and optimize the sequence of these interaction beads with respect to the interaction energy of the semiflexible chains in a number of target-staggered crystalline packings. We find that structures with the lowest interaction energies, that form simple lattices, also have low values of L/D (where L is chain length and D is stagger). In the low interaction energy sequences, similar types of interaction beads cluster together to form stretches. Langevin Dynamics simulations confirm that semiflexible chains with optimal sequences self-assemble into the designed staggered (para)crystalline fibrils. We conclude that very simple interaction patterns should suffice to drive the assembly of long semiflexible chains into staggered (para)crystalline fibrils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1926
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Coarse-graining
  • Collagen
  • Computer simulations
  • Protein assembly
  • Protein design
  • Self-assembly design
  • Staggered assembly


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