Nanomolecular patterning with definable size and organization is of integral importance in the drive for further miniaturization in materials science and electronics. Biomaterials and biopolymers are an important source of potential templates for production of such nanoscale structures. Template mineralization or photochemical polymerization on lipids1,2 and bacterial fibres3 have been reported, as well as methods for DNA driven nanocrystal organization4. However, supramolecular protein self assemblies such as virusus, actin filaments, and bacterial flagella have mostly been unexplored. Here, we describe design and production of a tobacco mosiac virus mutant that provides for specific and stoichiometric attachment of a wide variety of ligand-linker groups. As a result, specific ligands could be chemoselectively linked to the virion to produce highly diverse nanomolecular materials. These included semi-crystalline protein arrays, metallic 'nanopipes', multidimensional DNA 'wires', as well as nanomolecular 'light sticks'. The method described is facile and inexpensive with potential uses in such diverse areas as nanofabrication and biomolecular structure determination.
Archibald, D.D. & Mann, S. (1993). Template mineralization of self-assembled anisotropic lipid microstructures. Nature364: 430-433.
Evans, E., Bowman, H., Leung, A., Needham, D. & Tirrell, D. (1996). Biomembrane Templates for Nanoscale Conduits and Networks. Science273: 933-935.
Davis, S.A., Burkett, S.L., Mendelson, N.H. & Mann, S. (1997). Bacterial templating of ordered macrostructures in silica and silica-surfactant mesophases. Nature385: 420-423.