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Integrated Nanosystems Templated by Self-assembled Virus Capsids


This dissertation presents the synthesis and modeling of multicomponent nanosystems templated by self-assembled virus capsids. The design principles, synthesis, analysis, and future directions for these capsid-based materials are presented.

Chapter 1 gives an overview of the literature on the application of virus capsids in constructing nanomaterials. The uses of capsids in three main areas are considered: 1) as templates for inorganic materials or nanoparticles; 2) as vehicles for biological applications like medical imaging and treatment; and 3) as scaffolds for catalytic materials. In light of this introduction, an overview of the material in this dissertation is described.

Chapters 2-4 all describe integrated nanosystems templated by bacteriophage MS2, a spherical icosahedral virus capsid. MS2 possesses an interior and exterior surface that can be modified orthogonally using bioconjugation chemistry to create multivalent, multicomponent constructs with precise localization of components attached to the capsid proteins.

Chapter 2 describes the use of MS2 to synthesize a photocatalytic construct by modifying the internal surface with sensitizing chromophores and the external surface with a photocatalytic porphyrin. The chromophores absorbed energy that the porphyrin could not, and transferred it to the porphyrin via FRET through the protein shell. The porphyrin was then able to utilize the energy to carry out photocatalysis at new wavelengths.

In Chapter 3, porphyrins were installed on the interior surface of MS2 and DNA aptamers specific for Jurkat leukemia T cells on the exterior surface. The dual-modified capsids were able to bind to Jurkat cells, and upon illumination the porphyrins generated singlet oxygen to kill them selectively over non-targeted cells.

Chapter 4 explores integrating MS2 with DNA origami in order to arrange the capsids at larger length scales. Capsids modified with fluorescent dyes inside and single-stranded DNA outside were able to bind to origami tiles bearing complementary DNA probes. The tiles could then be used to arrange the capsids in a one-dimensional array with dimensions far exceeding those of individual MS2 particles.

In Chapter 5, the use of a different capsid, that of the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) is described. The defect tolerance of light harvesting systems built using TMV as a scaffold was investigated using a kinetic Monte Carlo model to simulate the energy transfer processes. The results of the simulation were used to understand and explain experimental results obtained from the system.

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