Terminal supraparticle assemblies from similarly charged protein molecules and nanoparticles.
Park JI., Nguyen TD., de Queirós Silveira G., Bahng JH., Srivastava S., Zhao G., Sun K., Zhang P., Glotzer SC., Kotov NA.
Self-assembly of proteins and inorganic nanoparticles into terminal assemblies makes possible a large family of uniformly sized hybrid colloids. These particles can be compared in terms of utility, versatility and multifunctionality to other known types of terminal assemblies. They are simple to make and offer theoretical tools for designing their structure and function. To demonstrate such assemblies, we combine cadmium telluride nanoparticles with cytochrome C protein and observe spontaneous formation of spherical supraparticles with a narrow size distribution. Such self-limiting behaviour originates from the competition between electrostatic repulsion and non-covalent attractive interactions. Experimental variation of supraparticle diameters for several assembly conditions matches predictions obtained in simulations. Similar to micelles, supraparticles can incorporate other biological components as exemplified by incorporation of nitrate reductase. Tight packing of nanoscale components enables effective charge and exciton transport in supraparticles and bionic combination of properties as demonstrated by enzymatic nitrate reduction initiated by light absorption in the nanoparticle.