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Nano Lett. 2005 Apr;5(4):629-33.

Molecular self-assembly of "nanowires"and "nanospools" using active transport.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Mastering supramolecular self-assembly to a similar degree as nature has achieved on a subcellular scale is critical for the efficient fabrication of complex nanoscopic and mesoscopic structures. We demonstrate that active, molecular-scale transport powered by biomolecular motors can be utilized to drive the self-assembly of mesoscopic structures that would not form in the absence of active transport. In the presented example, functionalized microtubules transported by surface-immobilized kinesin motors cross-link via biotin/streptavidin bonds and form extended linear and circular mesoscopic structures, which move in the presence of ATP. The self-assembled structures are oriented, exhibit large internal strains, and are metastable while the biomolecular motors are active. The integration of molecular motors into the self-assembly process overcomes the trade-off between stability and complexity in thermally activated molecular self-assembly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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