Electrostatic Self-Assembly of Protein Cage Arrays

Soumyananda Chakraborti, Antti Korpi, Jonathan G. Heddle, Mauri A. Kostiainen

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

2 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Protein and peptide cages are nanoscale containers, which are of particular interest in nanoscience due to their well-defined dimensions and enclosed central cavities that can be filled with material that is protected from the outside environment. Ferritin is a typical example of protein cage, formed by 24 polypeptide chains that self-assemble into a hollow, roughly spherical protein cage with external and internal diameters of approximately 12 nm and 8 nm, respectively. The interior cavity of ferritin provides a unique reaction vessel to carry out reactions separated from the exterior environment. In nature, the cavity is utilized for sequestration and biomineralization to render iron inert and safe by shielding from the external environment. Materials scientists have been inspired by this system and exploited a range of ferritin superfamily proteins as supramolecular templates to encapsulate cargoes ranging from cancer drugs to therapeutic proteins. Interesting possibilities arise if such containers can themselves be arranged into even higher-order structures such as crystalline arrays. Here, we describe how crystalline arrays of negatively charged ferritin protein cages can be built by taking advantage of electrostatic interactions with cationic gold nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolypeptide materials : methods and protocols
EditorsMaxim G. Ryadnov
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-0716-0928-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-0716-0927-9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA3 Book section, Chapters in research books

Publication series

NameMethods in molecular biology
PublisherHumana Press
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Nanocontainers
  • Nanocrystals
  • Protein cage
  • Protein design
  • Protein engineering


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