A protocol for the design of protein and peptide nanostructure self-assemblies exploiting synthetic amino acids

Nurit Haspel*, Jie Zheng, Carlos Aleman, David Zanuy, Ruth Nussinov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In recent years there has been increasing interest in nanostructure design based on the self-assembly properties of proteins and polymers. Nanodesign requires the ability to predictably manipulate the properties of the self-assembly of autonomous building blocks, which can fold or aggregate into preferred conformational states. The design includes functional synthetic materials and biological macromolecules. Autonomous biological building blocks with available 3D structures provide an extremely rich and useful resource. Structural databases contain large libraries of protein molecules and their building blocks with a range of sizes, shapes, surfaces, and chemical properties. The introduction of engineered synthetic residues or short peptides into these building blocks can greatly expand the available chemical space and enhance the desired properties. Herein, we summarize a protocol for designing nanostructures consisting of selfassembling building blocks, based on our recent works. We focus on the principles of nanostructure design with naturally occurring proteins and synthetic amino acids, as well as hybrid materials made of amyloids and synthetic polymers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages30
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


FundersFunder number
U.S. Government
National Science Foundation2015-NIRG-341372, 0952624, 1607475, 1510099
National Science Foundation
National Institutes of HealthHHSN261200800001E
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
National Cancer InstituteZIABC010441
National Cancer Institute
National Natural Science Foundation of ChinaNSFC-21528601
National Natural Science Foundation of China


    • Amyloid peptides
    • Beta-helical proteins
    • Computational nanodesign
    • Hybrid materials
    • Nanostructures
    • Peptide-based nanodesign
    • Self-assembly
    • Synthetic amino acids


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