PerspectiveSELF-ASSEMBLY

Bringing proteins into the fold

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  24 Mar 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6331, pp. 1261-1262
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam9541

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

Molecular engineers have become increasingly adept at repurposing life's building blocks to make custom self-assembled shapes. Because a single drop of solution contains billions of such shapes, DNA origami smiley faces (1), RNA stars (2), and designer protein polyhedra (3) may vastly outnumber most other human-made objects on Earth. These shapes lack immediate practical utility, but they transmit a powerful message: Researchers are beginning to understand how molecules self-assemble. On page 1283 of this issue, Praetorius and Dietz make another leap forward by demonstrating a novel class of nanostructures, namely DNA-protein hybrid shapes (4). This is an important advance because it provides a method to create human-designed shapes out of ingredients that are generally compatible with living systems.