Condensed-Matter Physics & Materials Science Seminar

"Packing Them In: Using Virus Capsids to Direct the Synthesis and Packaging of Polymers, Minerals, and Proteins"

Presented by Trevor Douglas, Montana State University

Thursday, March 22, 2012, 1:30 pm — Small Seminar Room, Bldg. 510

Viruses have emerged as useful platforms for synthetic manipulation with a range of applications from materials to medicine. Synthetic manipulation can impart new function to virus derived protein cages, combining the best of evolution and directed synthetic design. An appreciation of these properties has resulted in a paradigm shift from the study of viruses as disease causing agents to highly useful supramolecular assemblies, which can be chemically and genetically modified.
We have used the interior of the bacteriophage P22 capsid for the directed synthesis and packaging of organic and inorganic polymeric materials as well as a range of gene products. The packaging of material on the inside of the protein cages can dramatically change the physical properties of both the cage and the encapsulated cargo.
We have begun to investigate the effects of molecular crowding on encapsulated enzymes and polymers with a view to developing a wide range of bio-inspired materials. In addition, the incorporation of peptides on the interior surface of the P22 capsid has allowed us to explore the directed nucleation and growth of constrained inorganic materials. In particular, the use of these protein cage constrained materials as targeted therapeutic and diagnostic agents and as controlled nano-reactors will be discussed.

Hosted by: Masa Fukuto

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