Engineered coiled-coil protein microfibers

Biomacromolecules. 2014 Oct 13;15(10):3503-10. doi: 10.1021/bm5004948. Epub 2014 Oct 2.


The fabrication of de novo proteins able to self-assemble on the nano- to meso-length scales is critical in the development of protein-based biomaterials in nanotechnology and medicine. Here we report the design and characterization of a protein engineered coiled-coil that not only assembles into microfibers, but also can bind hydrophobic small molecules. Under ambient conditions, the protein forms fibers with nanoscale structure possessing large aspect ratios formed by bundles of α-helical homopentameric assemblies, which further assemble into mesoscale fibers in the presence of curcumin through aggregation. Surprisingly, these biosynthesized fibers are able to form in conditions of remarkably low concentrations. Unlike previously designed coiled-coil fibers, these engineered protein microfibers can bind the small molecule curcumin throughout the assembly, serving as a depot for encapsulation and delivery of other chemical agents within protein-based 3D microenvironments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Engineering / methods
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Proteins / chemistry*


  • Proteins