|Title||Template-Free Self-Assembly of Artificial De Novo Viral Coat Proteins into Nanorods: Effects of Sequence, Concentration, and Temperature|
|Author(s)||Vargas, Ernesto Cazares; Cohen Stuart, Martien A.; Vries, Renko de; Hernandez-Garcia, Armando|
|Source||Chemistry-A European Journal (2019). - ISSN 0947-6539|
Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||artificial viruses - bionanotechnology - protein engineering - self-assembly - supramolecular materials|
The self-assembly of protein polymers is a promising route to prepare sophisticated functional nanostructures. However, the interplay between protein self-assembly by itself and its co-assembly with a template is not well understood. Silk-based protein polymers that co-assemble with DNA to form rod-like artificial viruses are herein developed and the effects of silk block length, concentration, and temperature in the self-assembly of the proteins alone are characterized by using a combination of bulk dynamic light scattering (DLS) and single-molecule atomic force microscopy (AFM). Protein nanorods were slowly formed (up to hours) through the interaction of the silk-like blocks. The proteins present a silk-length dependent critical elongation concentration, and above it the amount and size of nanorods rapidly increase. Temperature-dependent light scattering data was adequately fitted into a cooperative model of nucleation–elongation. These results are also important to understand the self-assembly of designed viral coat proteins with DNA templates to form artificial virus-like particles and help us to define general guidelines to design proteins with the ability to precisely organize matter at the nanoscale.