PerspectiveMaterials Science

Obey the Peptide Assembly Rules

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Science  03 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6132, pp. 561-562
DOI: 10.1126/science.1237708

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The complex properties of systems as diverse as ant colonies and stock markets emerge from the interplay of many components interacting through a small number of simple rules (1). Establishing the interaction rules not only helps to understand the emergence of the larger system; exploitation of the rules can provide rational control over the system itself. On page 595 of this issue, Fletcher et al. (2) describe the design of molecular components that assemble into enclosed, hollow nanostructures, the morphologies of which are defined by rules governing the interactions between the building blocks. Manipulation of these rules results in the controlled alteration of the the nanostructure's size (see the figure).