Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12(8), 5406-5421; doi:10.3390/ijms12085406
Review

Self-Assembly in the Ferritin Nano-Cage Protein Superfamily

Received: 20 July 2011; in revised form: 9 August 2011 / Accepted: 15 August 2011 / Published: 22 August 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Self-Assembly 2011)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Protein self-assembly, through specific, high affinity, and geometrically constraining protein-protein interactions, can control and lead to complex cellular nano-structures. Establishing an understanding of the underlying principles that govern protein self-assembly is not only essential to appreciate the fundamental biological functions of these structures, but could also provide a basis for their enhancement for nano-material applications. The ferritins are a superfamily of well studied proteins that self-assemble into hollow cage-like structures which are ubiquitously found in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Structural studies have revealed that many members of the ferritin family can self-assemble into nano-cages of two types. Maxi-ferritins form hollow spheres with octahedral symmetry composed of twenty-four monomers. Mini-ferritins, on the other hand, are tetrahedrally symmetric, hollow assemblies composed of twelve monomers. This review will focus on the structure of members of the ferritin superfamily, the mechanism of ferritin self-assembly and the structure-function relations of these proteins.
Keywords: ferritin; maxi-ferritin; mini-ferritin; self-assembly
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, Y.; Orner, B.P. Self-Assembly in the Ferritin Nano-Cage Protein Superfamily. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2011, 12, 5406-5421.

AMA Style

Zhang Y, Orner BP. Self-Assembly in the Ferritin Nano-Cage Protein Superfamily. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2011; 12(8):5406-5421.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Yu; Orner, Brendan P. 2011. "Self-Assembly in the Ferritin Nano-Cage Protein Superfamily." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 12, no. 8: 5406-5421.

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