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Proteins as Supramolecular Building Blocks for Responsive Materials and Nanodevices

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Technical Report,01 Oct 2012,30 Sep 2015

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University of Canterbury Christchurch New Zealand

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Background Our long term objective is to create and customise new components appropriate to bioresponsivematerials and devices. Proteins selfassemble in waterbased environments, a propertythat we are exploiting in the fabrication of novel supramolecular architectures. In this programme,we have used two complementary model systems that spontaneously form ring structures accordingto their inherent biology1. The Lsm proteins create ring assemblies to gather up RNA and protein partners within theirscaffold architecture.2. The peroxiredoxin Prx proteins also self assemble into rings, once triggered by a redox switch,and then into intriguing superstructures.In each case, our understanding of external factors determining selfassociation has allowed us todrive the two systems into stable organised nanoscale structures. We have enhanced and extendedthese structural forms and added motifs by attaching other moieties to add functionality. An abilityto exquisitely control the architecture and assembly of the Lsm and Prx in solution and at surfaces,as well as to tune their molecular binding events, has supplied the field with two new, versatile,building blocks tectons with which to build intelligent materials. These are being used in relatedprogrammes, for example to add extra functional scope to materials ordered at the nanoscale.Ultimately, these will have capacity to sense and respond to specific stimuli, including those ofmilitary relevance.

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