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Bottom-up synthesis of protein-based nanomaterials from engineered β-solenoid proteins

Sciprofile linkZeyu Peng, Maria D. R. Peralta, Daniel L. Cox, Michael D. Toney
Published: 21 February 2020
PLOS ONE , Volume 15; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0229319

Abstract: Biomolecular self-assembly is an emerging bottom-up approach for the synthesis of novel nanomaterials. DNA and viruses have both been used to create scaffolds but the former lacks chemical diversity and the latter lack spatial control. To date, the use of protein scaffolds to template materials on the nanoscale has focused on amyloidogenic proteins that are known to form fibrils or two-protein systems where a second protein acts as a cross-linker. We previously developed a unique approach for self-assembly of nanomaterials based on engineering β-solenoid proteins (BSPs) to polymerize into micrometer-length fibrils. BSPs have highly regular geometries, tunable lengths, and flat surfaces that are amenable to engineering and functionalization. Here, we present a newly engineered BSP based on the antifreeze protein of the beetle Rhagium inquisitor (RiAFP-m9), which polymerizes into stable fibrils under benign conditions. Gold nanoparticles were used to functionalize the RiAFP-m9 fibrils as well as those assembled from the previously described SBAFP-m1 protein. Cysteines incorporated into the sequences provide site-specific gold attachment. Additionally, silver was deposited on the gold-labelled fibrils by electroless plating to create nanowires. These results bolster prospects for programable self-assembly of BSPs to create scaffolds for functional nanomaterials.
Keywords: Nanoparticles / Nanomaterials / protein engineering / silver / Engineers / Amyloid proteins / Macromolecular Engineering / Molecular Self Assembly

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