Biological systems are complex, self-assembling structures that are encoded by the sequences of individual protein polymers. The present work discusses the fundamental principles that determine the large-scale structural and hierarchical organization of biological assemblies. The combination of recombinant DNA technology, enabling the synthesis of virtually any polypeptide sequence or functional domain fusion, together with lessons learned from sequentially-assembled biological structures like virus particles, provide the basis for designing novel assemblies from engineered macromolecules with potential applications as sensors, actuators, or biomaterials. The successful development of these new materials applications requires the close integration of computer design, protein synthesis, biophysical measurements, and structural characterization using both X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy. The approach is exemplified through the development of engineered structural fibers based on architectural motifs found in viral helical beta structures, for which structural and biophysical data will be presented. Examples of functional designs and assembly strategies for 2D and 3D "semiconductor-like" architectures based on biological macromolecular motifs will also be presented.
F. Raymond Salemme
3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
1020 Stony Hill Road, Yardley, PA 19067 USA
Phone: 267-757-7233 Fax: 267-757-7276