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Nat Nanotechnol. 2011 Jul 31;6(9):558-62. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2011.122.

Generation of protein lattices by fusing proteins with matching rotational symmetry.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics, Department of Biochemistry, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QU, UK.


The self-assembly of supramolecular structures that are ordered on the nanometre scale is a key objective in nanotechnology. DNA and peptide nanotechnologies have produced various two- and three-dimensional structures, but protein molecules have been underexploited in this area of research. Here we show that the genetic fusion of subunits from protein assemblies that have matching rotational symmetry generates species that can self-assemble into well-ordered, pre-determined one- and two-dimensional arrays that are stabilized by extensive intermolecular interactions. This new class of supramolecular structure provides a way to manufacture biomaterials with diverse structural and functional properties.

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