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Nanotubes built from protein crystals: Breakthrough in biomolecular engineering

Date: 19.11.2018 

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.

Kredit: Chemical Science.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. 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.

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 researchers chose a naturally occurring protein called RubisCO as a building block for construction of nanotube. Due to its high stability, RubisCO could keep its shape, and its crystal structure from previous research had recommended it for this study.

 


 

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