Yang, Guang.; Zhang, X.; Kochovski, Z.; Zhang, Y.; Dai, B.; Sakai, F.; Jiang, L.; Lu, Y.; Ballauff, M.; Li, X.; Liu, C.; Chen, G.; Jiang, M.: Precise and Reversible Protein-Microtubule-Like Structure with Helicity Driven by Dual Supramolecular Interactions. Journal of the American Chemical Society 138 (2016), p. 1932-1937

Protein microtubule is a significant self-assembled architecture found in nature with crucial biological functions. However, mimicking protein microtubules with precise structure and controllable self-assembly behavior remains highly challenging. In this work, we demonstrate that by using dual supramolecular interactions from a series of well-designed ligands, i.e., protein−sugar interaction and π−π stacking, highly homogeneous protein microtubes were achieved from tetrameric soybean agglutinin without any chemical or biological modification. Using combined cryo-EM single-particle reconstruction and computational modeling, the accurate structure of protein microtube was determined. The helical protein microtube is consisted of three protofilaments, each of which features an array of soybean agglutinin tetramer linked by the designed ligands. Notably, the microtubes resemble the natural microtubules in their structural and dynamic features such as the shape and diameter and the controllable and reversible assembly behavior, among others. Furthermore, the protein microtubes showed an ability to enhance immune response, demonstrating its great potential for biological applications.