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Nat Commun. 2016 Apr 26;7:11429. doi: 10.1038/ncomms11429.

Protein-directed self-assembly of a fullerene crystal.

Author information

1
SKKU Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Korea.
2
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, New Jersey 07102, USA.
3
School of Biological Sciences, National Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhubaneswar, Odisha 752050, India.
4
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.
5
Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.
6
Department of Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.
7
Center for Neuroscience Imaging Research, Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Suwon 16419, Korea.
8
Department of Computer Science and Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.

Abstract

Learning to engineer self-assembly would enable the precise organization of molecules by design to create matter with tailored properties. Here we demonstrate that proteins can direct the self-assembly of buckminsterfullerene (C60) into ordered superstructures. A previously engineered tetrameric helical bundle binds C60 in solution, rendering it water soluble. Two tetramers associate with one C60, promoting further organization revealed in a 1.67-Å crystal structure. Fullerene groups occupy periodic lattice sites, sandwiched between two Tyr residues from adjacent tetramers. Strikingly, the assembly exhibits high charge conductance, whereas both the protein-alone crystal and amorphous C60 are electrically insulating. The affinity of C60 for its crystal-binding site is estimated to be in the nanomolar range, with lattices of known protein crystals geometrically compatible with incorporating the motif. Taken together, these findings suggest a new means of organizing fullerene molecules into a rich variety of lattices to generate new properties by design.

PMID:
27113637
PMCID:
PMC4853425
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms11429
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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