MEMS Seminar: Protein Nanocage:A Versatile Molecular Carrier
Friday, May 5, 2017
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Professor Sierin Lin
Protein nanocages can be engineered to tailor their functions as carriers for health (e.g. therapeutic and diagnostic agents), molecular electronic, and consumer care (e.g. cosmetics and food) applications. They are formed by the self-assembly of multiple subunits forming hollow cage-like structures of nanometer size. Due to their proteinaceous nature, the protein nanocages allow facile modifications on its internal and external surfaces, as well as the subunit interfaces designed for the intended applications. In this presentation, I will elaborate on utilizing protein nanocages loaded with metal as MRI contrast agent or with drug as drug carrier, modifying the interface of the subunits to render the nanocages sensitive to environmental changes, such as pH. Engineering of the external surface allows for the display of targeting ligands for selective accumulation on cancer cells[4,5] as well as epitopes for modulating of the immune system. Leveraging on its natural or engineered metal-chelating activities, protein nanocages serve a dual function as a reaction container and as facilitator in the deposition of monodispersed platinum nanoparticles on graphene surfaces for electrocatalysis in fuel cells. Long-range electron tunneling across metal-loaded protein nanocages has also been shown to be promising in the development of memristive devices and future molecular electronics[7,8].