Metal Ion-Induced Self-Assembly of a Multi-Responsive Block Copolypeptide into Well-Defined Nanocapsules

M.B. van Eldijk, L. Schoonen, Jeroen Johannes Lambertus Maria Cornelissen, R.J.M. Nolte, J.C.M. van Hest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Protein cages are an interesting class of biomaterials with potential applications in bionanotechnology. Therefore, substantial effort is spent on the development of capsule-forming designer polypeptides with a tailor-made assembly profile. The expanded assembly profile of a triblock copolypeptide consisting of a metal ion chelating hexahistidine-tag, a stimulus-responsive elastin-like polypeptide block, and a pH-responsive morphology-controlling viral capsid protein is presented. The self-assembly of this multi-responsive protein-based block copolymer is triggered by the addition of divalent metal ions. This assembly process yields monodisperse nanocapsules with a 20 nm diameter composed of 60 polypeptides. The well-defined nanoparticles are the result of the emergent properties of all the blocks of the polypeptide. These results demonstrate the feasibility of hexahistidine-tags to function as supramolecular cross-linkers. Furthermore, their potential for the metal ion-mediated encapsulation of hexahistidine-tagged proteins is shown.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2476-2483
Number of pages7
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • IR-103522
  • METIS-320625


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