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Multilayered Ordered Protein Arrays Self-Assembled from a Mixed Population of Virus-like Particles

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journal contribution
posted on 12.05.2022, 19:03 authored by Masaki Uchida, Nicholas E. Brunk, Nathasha D. Hewagama, Byeongdu Lee, Peter E. Prevelige, Vikram Jadhao, Trevor Douglas
Biology shows many examples of spatially controlled assembly of cells and biomacromolecules into hierarchically organized structures, to which many of the complex biological functions are attributed. While such biological structures have inspired the design of synthetic materials, it is still a great challenge to control the spatial arrangement of individual building blocks when assembling multiple types of components into bulk materials. Here, we report self-assembly of multilayered, ordered protein arrays from mixed populations of virus-like particles (VLPs). We systematically tuned the magnitude of the surface charge of the VLPs via mutagenesis to prepare four different types of VLPs for mixing. A mixture of up to four types of VLPs selectively assembled into higher-order structures in the presence of oppositely charged dendrimers during a gradual lowering of the ionic strength of the solution. The assembly resulted in the formation of three-dimensional ordered VLP arrays with up to four distinct layers including a central core, with each layer comprising a single type of VLP. A coarse-grained computational model was developed and simulated using molecular dynamics to probe the formation of the multilayered, core-shell structure. Our findings establish a simple and versatile bottom-up strategy to synthesize multilayered, ordered materials by controlling the spatial arrangement of multiple types of nanoscale building blocks in a one-pot fabrication.