The production of functional molecular architectures through self-assembly is commonplace in biology, but despite advances1, 2, 3, it is still a major challenge to achieve similar complexity in the laboratory. Self-assembled structures that are reproducible and virtually defect free are of interest for applications in three-dimensional cell culture4, 5, templating6, biosensing7 and supramolecular electronics. Here, we report the use of reversible enzyme-catalysed reactions to drive self-assembly. In this approach, the self-assembly of aromatic short peptide derivatives9, 10 provides a driving force that enables a protease enzyme to produce building blocks in a reversible and spatially confined manner. We demonstrate that this system combines three features: (i) self-correction—fully reversible self-assembly under thermodynamic control; (ii) component-selection—the ability to amplify the most stable molecular self-assembly structures in dynamic combinatorial libraries11, 12, 13; and (iii) spatiotemporal confinement of nucleation and structure growth. Enzyme-assisted self-assembly therefore provides control in bottom-up fabrication of nanomaterials that could ultimately lead to functional nanostructures with enhanced complexities and fewer defects.
- thermodynamic control
- supramolecular electronics
Williams, R., Smith, A., Collins, R., Hodson, N., Das, A., & Ulijn, R. V. (2009). Enzyme-assisted self-assembly under thermodynamic control. Nature Nanotechnology, 4(1), 19-24. https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2008.378