Principles of Shape-Driven Nanostructure Design via Self-Assembly of Protein Building Blocks

Idit Buch*, Chung Jung Tsai, Carlos Alemán, Ruth Nussinov

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Protein molecules and their building blocks self-assemble to create various shapes. To design nanostructures, the goal is to manipulate predictably the self-assembly into a target shape. Here, we focus on a shape-based design principles and strategies from a protein folding perspective. We largely center on nanotubes, which may constitute the simplest macromolecular 3D shape, and provide carbon nanotube analogies. We touch on the mechanism of formation of lipid tubules with the expectation that the mechanisms of protein and lipid tube formation share general conceptual similarity. Last, we illustrate how incorporation of synthetic, nonproteinogenic residues can assist in the shape-based design by restricting the conformational space sampled by the peptides while at the same time rendering them resistant to proteolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPeptide Materials
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Nanostructures to Applications
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781119953739
StatePublished - 27 Mar 2013


  • Building blocks
  • Modeling
  • Nanobiology
  • Nanotube design
  • Protein folding
  • Self-assembly


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