Nano Biostructures

Designing protein molecules that self-assemble into complex bio architectures is an innovative goal of Nano biotechnology. Applications can range from design of bioactive 3D Nano biomaterials, to Nano Bio carriers and Nano biosensors, from bioelectronics to biomedicine. Nature has evolved already a large variety of complex biostructures at nanoscale for cell life. These arise mainly from assemblies of different proteins through non-covalent and highly specific interactions, such as viral capsids and microtubules. The aim of our research activity is to engineer and generate novel bioinspired (metallo)protein scaffolds that can self-assemble upon stimulation into desired well-ordered and stable multicomponent Nano-biostructures, such as bio molecular cages and crystals. This process is strongly driven by specific technological needs.

Primary research tools include approaches of protein engineering, overexpression of recombinant proteins in mammalian and bacterial cell systems, production scale-up, bio crystallization, and structural biophysics analysis (mainly x-ray crystallography, small angle x-ray scattering, neutron scattering, cryo-electron microscopy and tomography, surface plasmon resonance and isothermal titration calorimetry). We have access to major EU research platforms of synchrotron light source. Overall, these methods provide insights into protein structure and dynamics at the atomic level, and allow us to characterize the thermodynamics and kinetics of protein interactions, which are key parameters for efficient protein architecture design and hierarchical subunit assembly.

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