Synthetic Modularity of Protein–Metal–Organic Frameworks

Previously, we adopted the construction principles of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) to design a 3D crystalline protein lattice in which pseudospherical ferritin nodes decorated on their C3 symmetric vertices with Zn coordination sites were connected via a ditopic benzene-dihydroxamate linker. In this work, we have systematically varied both the metal ions presented at the vertices of the ferritin nodes (Zn­(II), Ni­(II), and Co­(II)) and the synthetic dihydroxamate linkers, which yielded an expanded library of 15 ferritin–MOFs with the expected body-centered (cubic or tetragonal) lattice arrangements. Crystallographic and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) analyses indicate that lattice symmetries and dimensions of ferritin–MOFs can be dictated by both the metal and linker components. SAXS measurements on bulk crystalline samples reveal that some ferritin–MOFs can adopt multiple lattice conformations, suggesting dynamic behavior. This work establishes that the self-assembly of ferritin–MOFs is highly robust and that the synthetic modularity that underlies the structural diversity of conventional MOFs can also be applied to the self-assembly of protein-based crystalline materials.