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  1. Strategies to create organized multicomponent nanostructures composed of discrete, self-sorted domains are important for developing materials that mimic the complexity and multifunctionality found in biological systems. These structures can be challenging to achieve due to the required balance of molecular self-recognition and supramolecular attraction needed between the components. Herein, we report a strategy to construct a two-component nanostructure via a hierarchical assembly process whereby two monomeric building blocks undergo self-sorting assembly at the molecular level followed by a supramolecular association to form a nanofiber-wrapped nanotube. The two molecules self-sorted into respective nanofiber and nanotube assemblies, yet assembly of the nanofibers in the presence of the nanotube template allowed for directed integration into a hierarchical multilayer structure via electrostatic interactions. The fiber-wrapped nanotube co-assembly was characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) between the components. Strategies to co-assemble multicomponent nanostructures composed of discrete, spatially sorted domains with controllable higher level interactions will be critical for the development of novel, functionally competent nanomaterials.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 24, 2023
  2. Diabetes poses a high risk for debilitating complications in neural tissues, regulating glucose uptake through insulin-dependent and predominantly insulin-independent pathways. Supramolecular nanostructures provide a flexible strategy for combinatorial regulation of glycemia. Here, we compare the effects of free insulin to insulin bound to positively charged nanofibers comprised of self-assembling amino acid compounds (AACs) with an antioxidant-modified side chain moiety (AAC2) in both in vitro and in vivo models of type 1 diabetes. Free AAC2, free human insulin (hINS) and AAC2-bound-human insulin (AAC2-hINS) were tested in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced mouse model of type 1 diabetes. AAC2-hINS acted as a complex and exhibited different properties compared to free AAC2 or hINS. Mice treated with the AAC2-hINS complex were devoid of hypoglycemic episodes, had improved levels of insulin in circulation and in the brain, and increased expression of neurotransmitter taurine transporter, Slc6a6. Consequently, treatment with AAC2-hINS markedly advanced both physical and cognitive performance in mice with STZ-induced and genetic type 1 diabetes compared to treatments with free AAC2 or hINS. This study demonstrates that the flexible nanofiber AAC2 can serve as a therapeutic platform for the combinatorial treatment of diabetes and its complications.
  3. Abstract

    Fruit characteristics of sweet watermelon are largely the result of human selection. Here we report an improved watermelon reference genome and whole-genome resequencing of 414 accessions representing all extant species in theCitrullusgenus. Population genomic analyses reveal the evolutionary history ofCitrullus, suggesting independent evolutions inCitrullus amarusand the lineage containingCitrullus lanatusandCitrullus mucosospermus. Our findings indicate that different loci affecting watermelon fruit size have been under selection during speciation, domestication and improvement. A non-bitter allele, arising in the progenitor of sweet watermelon, is largely fixed inC. lanatus. Selection for flesh sweetness started in the progenitor ofC. lanatusand continues through modern breeding on loci controlling raffinose catabolism and sugar transport. Fruit flesh coloration and sugar accumulation might have co-evolved through shared genetic components including a sugar transporter gene. This study provides valuable genomic resources and sheds light on watermelon speciation and breeding history.