Recent progress in designing protein-based supramolecular assemblies

William A. Hansen, Sagar D. Khare

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The design of protein-based assemblies is an emerging area in bionanotechnology with wide ranging applications, from vaccines to smart biomaterials. Design approaches have sought to mimic both the topologies of assemblies observed in nature, as well as their functionally relevant properties, such as being responsive to external cues. In the last few years, diverse design approaches have been used to construct assemblies with integer-dimensional (e.g. filaments, layers, lattices and polyhedra) and non-integer-dimensional (fractal) topologies. Supramolecular structures that assemble/disassemble in response to chemical and physical stimuli have also been built. Hybrid protein-DNA assemblies have expanded the set of building blocks used for generating supramolecular architectures. While still far from reproducing the sophistication of natural assemblies, these exciting results represent important steps towards the design of responsive and functional biomaterials built from the bottom up. As the complexity of topologies and diversity of building blocks increases, considerations of both thermodynamics and kinetics of assembly formation will play crucial roles in making the design of protein-based assemblies robust and useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-114
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
StatePublished - Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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