Engineering a virus-like particle via protein design

Marija Drndic, Jay Kikkawa, Bill DeGrado, and Mike Klein (Temple University)

Programmable MembranesWe have designed specialized protein molecules that organize around carbon nanotubes into an atomistically-predefined pattern. Targeted design of such self-organization is a powerful tool for engineering at the nano scale. For example, we have shown that our protein/nanotube hybrid can be used to generate a regularly-spaced array of gold nano-particle. Shown here is an exciting new concept we are currently pursuing. We believe that our nanotube/protein complexes can be used to create a virus-like particle by nucleating the formation of a membrane mimetic around itself, much like natural enveloped viruses form a lipid membrane bilayer around their protein capsid core.