Practical approaches to designing novel protein assemblies

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2013 Aug;23(4):632-8. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Jul 1.


Molecular self-assembly offers a means by which sophisticated materials can be constructed with unparalleled precision. Designing self-assembling protein structures is of particular interest as a result of the unique functional capabilities of proteins. Custom-designed protein materials could lead to new possibilities in therapeutics, bioenergy, and materials science. Although the field was long hampered by the challenges involved in designing such complex molecules, novel approaches and computational tools have recently led to remarkable progress. Here we review recent design studies in the context of three fundamental aspects of self-assembling materials: subunit organization, subunit interactions, and regulation of assembly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Models, Molecular
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Engineering / methods*
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Subunits / chemical synthesis*
  • Protein Subunits / chemistry*
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism


  • Protein Subunits