Engineering of functional protein assemblies is about to get easier
The strong covalent bonds formed when atoms share electrons are the glue that holds together diatomic gases like hydrogen or oxygen, water molecules, and even very large molecules like strands of DNA. However, weaker intermolecular interactions are also critically important in formation of supramolecular structures, among which are protein assemblies with their complex 3D architectures. Nature-mimetic protein assemblies are gaining attention for applications in drug delivery and molecular diagnostics among others, but better control is required to ensure precision supramolecular engineering. The EU-funded ASSEMBLY project is developing tools to do this using a well-known class of molecules that act as molecular containers, binding guest molecules in their hydrophobic cavities.