Nanotech 2010

Genetically engineering biomacromolecules for nanobiotechnological applications (invited presentation)

C.B. Mao
University of Oklahoma, US

Keywords: phage, virus, flagella, nanomaterials, nanomedicine, self-assembly

Abstract:

Biomacromolecules can be employed to develop nanotechnology and nanomedicine. This talk will highlight our recent work in this area and focus on the use of two genetically modifiable biomacromolecules (phage and bacterial flagella). Filamentous phage is a nanorod-like virus that specifically infects bacteria and is non-toxic to human beings. It is self-assembled from proteins and DNA with proteins as a coat and DNA as a core. Foreign peptides can be genetically fused to the coat protein, enabling the site-specific modification of surface chemistry of the phage. Bacterial flagella are protein nanotubes (with an outer diameter of ~15 nm and tunable length) protruding from the exterior surface of bacteria. These protein nanotubes are self-assembled from thousands of protein subunits and can be genetically modified to display different peptides on the surface. We have applied both phage and flagella to direct the synthesis and assembly of nano- and biomaterials and develop anti-cancer therapeutics with cancer-targeting capabilities. Our work shows that genetically modifiable biomacromolecules are unique players in developing novel nanomaterials and nanomedicines.
 
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