Nano Research

Article Title

Nano-confinement of biomolecules: Hydrophilic confinement promotes structural order and enhances mobility of water molecules


nano-confinement, protein folding, hydration water, carbon nanotube, drug delivery


Molecular dynamics simulations have been used to investigate the confinement packing characteristics of small hydrophilic (N-acetyl-glycine-methylamide, Nagma) and hydrophobic (N-acetyl-leucine-methylamide, Nalma) biomolecules in large diameter single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). We find that hydrophilic biomolecules easily fill the nanotube and self organize into a geometrical configuration which reminds the water structural organization under SWCNT confinement. The packing of hydrophilic biomolecules inside the cylinder confines all water molecules in its core, which enhances their mobility. Conversely, hydrophobic biomolecules accommodate into the nanotubes with a trend for homogeneous filling, which generate unstable small pockets of water and drive toward a state of dehydration. These results shed light on key parameters important for the encapsulation of biomolecules with direct relevance for long-term storage and prevention of degradation.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press