Self-Assembling Protein Materials for Metal Nanoparticle Templation
Polytechnic University - Brooklyn Brooklyn United States
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The fabrication of de novo proteins able to self-assemble on the nano- to meso- length scales is critical in the development of protein-based biomaterials in nanotechnology and medicine. Here we report the design and characterization of a protein-engineered coiled-coil that not only assembles into microfibers but also can bindhydrophobic small molecules. Under ambient conditions the protein forms fibers with nanoscale structure possessing large aspect ratios formed by bundles of alpha- helical homopentameric assemblies, which further assemble intomesoscale fibers in the presence of curcumin through aggregation. Surprisingly, these biosynthesized fibers are able to form in conditions of remarkably low concentrations. Unlike previously designed coiled-coil fibers, these engineered protein microfibers can bind the small molecule curcumin throughout the assembly, serving as a depot for encapsulation and delivery of other chemical agents within protein-based 3D microenvironments.