Self-assembling light-harvesting systems from synthetically modified tobacco mosaic virus coat proteins.
ABSTRACT A new protein-based approach has been developed for the construction of light-harvesting systems through self-assembly. The building blocks were prepared by attaching fluorescent chromophores to cysteine residues introduced on tobacco mosaic virus coat protein monomers. When placed under the appropriate buffer conditions, these conjugates could be assembled into stacks of disks or into rods that reached hundreds of nanometers in length. Characterization of the system using fluorescence spectroscopy indicated that efficient energy transfer could be achieved from large numbers of donor chromophores to a single acceptor. Energy transfer is proposed to occur through direct donor-acceptor interactions, although degenerate donor-to-donor transfer events are also possible. Three-chromophore systems were also prepared to achieve broad spectrum light collection with over 90% overall efficiency. Through the combination of self-organizing biological structures and synthetic building blocks, a highly tunable new method has emerged for the construction of photovoltaic device components.
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ABSTRACT: Self-assembling protein nanotubes (PNTs) are an intriguing alternative to carbon nanotubes for applications in bionanotechnology, in part due to greater inherent biocompatibility. The type IV pilus of the gram negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a protein-based fibre composed of a single subunit, the type IV pilin. Engineered pilin monomers from P. aeruginosa strain K122-4 (DeltaK122) have been shown to oligomerize into PNTs both in solution and at surfaces. In order to fully exploit PNTs in bionanotechonological settings, an in-depth understanding of their assembly, physical characteristics and robustness, both in solution and when constrained to surfaces, is required. This study details the effectiveness of multiple initiators of DeltaK122-derived PNT oligomerization and characterize the formation of PNTs in solution. The optimal initiator for the oligomerization of DeltaK122 in solution was observed to be 2-methyl-2,4-pentanediol (MPD). Conversely, larger PEG molecules do not trigger oligomerization. Multi-angle light scattering analysis indicates that the pilin protein exists in a monomer-dimer equilibrium in solution, and that an intermediate species forms within three hours that then coalesces over time into high molecular weight PNTs. Transmission Electron Microscopic analysis was used to observe the formation of oligomerized DeltaK122 fibrils prior to assembly into full-length PNTs. The oligomerization of DeltaK122 pilin derived PNTs is a fibril mediated process. The optimal trigger for PNT oligomerization in solution is MPD, and the observation that PEGs do not induce oligomerization may enable the oligomerization of pilin-derived PNTs on PEG-functionalized surfaces for implantable bionanodevices.Journal of Nanobiotechnology 07/2013; 11(1):24. · 5.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We demonstrate rapid microfluidic fabrication of hybrid microparticles composed of functionalized viral nanotemplates directly embedded in polymeric hydrogels. Specifically, genetically modified tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) templates were covalently labeled with fluorescent markers or metalized with palladium (Pd) nanoparticles (Pd-TMV) and then suspended in a poly(ethylene glycol)-based solution. Upon formation in a flow-focusing device, droplets were photopolymerized with UV light to form microparticles. Fluorescence and confocal microscopy images of microparticles containing fluorescently labeled TMV show uniform distribution of TMV nanotemplates throughout the microparticles. Catalytic activity, via the dichromate reduction reaction, is also demonstrated with microparticles containing Pd-TMV complexes. Additionally, Janus microparticles were fabricated containing viruses embedded in one side and magnetic nanoparticles in the other, which enabled simple separation from bulk solution. These results represent a facile route to directly harness the advantages of viral nanotemplates into a readily usable and stable 3D assembled format.Langmuir 08/2010; 26(16):13436-41. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: There is a great deal of interest in the possibility that complex nanoscale devices can be designed and engineered. Such devices will lead to the development of new materials, electronics and smart drugs. Producing complex nanoscale devices, however will present many challenges and the components of such devices will require a number of special features. Devices will be engineered to incorporate desired functionalities but, because of the difficulties of controlling matter precisely at the nanoscale with current technology, the nanodevice components must self-assemble. In addition, nanocomponents that are to have wide applicability in various devices must have enough flexibility to integrate into a large number of potentially very different environments. These challenges are daunting and complex, and artificial nanodevices have not yet been constructed. However, the existence of nanomachines in nature in the form of proteins (eg, enzymes) suggests that they will be possible to produce. As the material from which nature's nanomachines are made, proteins seem ideal to form the basis of engineered components of such nanodevices. Initially, engineering projects may focus on building blocks such as rings, cages and tubes, examples of which exist in nature and may act as a useful start point for modification and further development. This review focuses on the recent research and possible future development of such protein building blocks.Nanotechnology, Science and Applications 01/2008; 1:67-78.