Nanotubes built from protein crystals: Breakthrough in biomolecular engineering

phys.org | 11/15/2018 | Staff
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Researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have constructed protein nanotubes from tiny scaffolds made by cross-linking of engineered protein crystals. The achievement could accelerate the development of artificial enzymes, nano-sized carriers and delivery systems for a host of biomedical and biotechnological applications.

An innovative way for assembly of proteins into well-ordered nanotubes has been developed by a group led by Takafumi Ueno at Tokyo Tech's Department of Biomolecular Engineering .

Protein - Nanostructures - Research - Interest - Catalysts

Tailor-made protein nanostructures are of intense research interest, as they could be used to develop highly specific and powerful catalysts, targeted drug and vaccine delivery systems, and for the design of many other promising biomaterials.

Scientists have faced challenges in constructing protein assemblies in aqueous solution due to the disorganized ways in which proteins interact freely under varying conditions such as pH and temperature.

Method - Chemical - Science - Problems - Protein

The new method, reported in the journal Chemical Science, overcomes these problems by using protein crystals, which serve as a promising scaffold for proteins to self-assemble into desired structures. The method has four steps, as illustrated in Construction of nanotubes from protein crystals:

release of the protein nanotubes by dissolving the scaffold.

Crystal - System - Arrangement - Structures - Interactions

The crystal system, composed of the ordered arrangement of assembled structures, makes it easy to control precise chemical interactions of interest by cross-linking to stabilize the assembly structure—an accomplishment that cannot be...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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