Metal ion-induced self-assembly of a multi-responsive block copolypeptide into well-defined nanocapsules

M.B. van Eldijk, L. Schoonen, J.J.L.M. Cornelissen, R.J.M. Nolte, J.C.M. van Hest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Protein cages are an interesting class of biomaterials with potential applications in bionanotechnology. Therefore, substantial effort is spent on the development of capsule-forming designer polypeptides with a tailor-made assembly profile. The expanded assembly profile of a triblock copolypeptide consisting of a metal ion chelating hexahistidine-tag, a stimulus-responsive elastin-like polypeptide block, and a pH-responsive morphology-controlling viral capsid protein is presented. The self-assembly of this multi-responsive protein-based block copolymer is triggered by the addition of divalent metal ions. This assembly process yields monodisperse nanocapsules with a 20 nm diameter composed of 60 polypeptides. The well-defined nanoparticles are the result of the emergent properties of all the blocks of the polypeptide. These results demonstrate the feasibility of hexahistidine-tags to function as supramolecular cross-linkers. Furthermore, their potential for the metal ion-mediated encapsulation of hexahistidine-tagged proteins is shown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2476-2483
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


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