Molecule of the Month: Designed Protein Cages
Researchers are modifying natural proteins to design new self-assembling protein cages
Interfaces from Scratch
Building on Nature
Exploring the Structure
Designed Protein Cage (PDB entry 3vcd)
The RosettaDesign method was used to design interfaces for two self-assembling protein cages, the tetrahedral one shown earlier, and an octahedral one shown here from PDB entry 3vcd . It is built from the bacterial protein PduT, which is normally a trimer. New interfaces were engineered to connect up each of the edges of the cube-shaped structure. To explore this structure and the designed interfaces in more detail, click on the image for an interactive Jmol.
Topics for Further Discussion
- You can compare the natural proteins with the engineered proteins using the Compare Structures tool.
- What are some of the advantages (and disadvantages) of building large structures using symmetrical components?
Related PDB-101 Resources
- Browse Nanotechnology
- 3vdx: Y. T. Lai, K. L. Tsai, M. R. Sawaya, F. J. Asturias & T. O. Yeates (2013) Structure and flexibility of nanoscale protein cages designed by symmetric self-assembly. Journal of the American Chemical Society 135, 7738-7743.
- 3vcd, 4egg: N. P. King, W. Sheffler, M. R. Sawaya, B. S. Vollmar, J. P. Sumida, I. Andre, T. Gonen, T. O. Yeates & D. Baker (2012) Computational design of self-assembling protein nanomaterials with atomic level accuracy. Science 336, 1171-1174.
- 3tom: J. D. Brodin, X. I. Ambroggio, C. Tang, K. N. Parent, T. S. Baker & F. A. Tezcan (2012) Metal-directed, chemically tunable assembly of one- two-, and three-dimensional crystalline protein arrays. Nature Chemistry 4, 375-382.
September 2013, David Goodsellhttp://doi.org/10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2013_9