“Catalytic Capsids: Protein Cages as Nanoreactors”
Jeroen J.L.M. Cornelissen – Laboratory for Biomolecular Nanotechnology, MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Twente, the Netherlands
Protein cages constitute an interesting class of nanoparticles that allow the integration of biological and synthetic building blocks in a well-defined manner. Various protein cages, such as virus capsids and iron-storage proteins, can be used for example as precisely defined scaffolds for the preparation of new materials, as hollow shells to encapsulate inorganic materials, or as multivalent ligand displays for targeting and delivery applications.
In this presentation examples will be given of nanoreactors formed by the protein cages of spherical plant viruses. These reactors are used for biocatalytic conversions, the formation of (supramolecular) polymers and for the synthesis of nanoparticles. Emphasis will be on the control of encapsulating different proteins inside the virus capsids and the study of their behavior in the resulting nanometer-sized confinement. Recent results, for example, have shown that the enzymatic action of a lipase is slight accelerated when the enzyme is encased in the protein cage.