Kinetic constraints on self-assembly into closed supramolecular structures
Bellaiche, Mathias M. J.
Hagan, Michael F.
Knowles, Tuomas P. J.
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CitationMichaels, Thomas C. T., Mathias M. J. Bellaiche, Michael F. Hagan, and Tuomas P. J. Knowles. 2017. “Kinetic constraints on self-assembly into closed supramolecular structures.” Scientific Reports 7 (1): 12295. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12528-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12528-8.
AbstractMany biological and synthetic systems exploit self-assembly to generate highly intricate closed supramolecular architectures, ranging from self-assembling cages to viral capsids. The fundamental design principles that control the structural determinants of the resulting assemblies are increasingly well-understood, but much less is known about the kinetics of such assembly phenomena and it remains a key challenge to elucidate how these systems can be engineered to assemble in an efficient manner and avoid kinetic trapping. We show here that simple scaling laws emerge from a set of kinetic equations describing the self-assembly of identical building blocks into closed supramolecular structures and that this scaling behavior provides general rules that determine efficient assembly in these systems. Using this framework, we uncover the existence of a narrow range of parameter space that supports efficient self-assembly and reveal that nature capitalizes on this behavior to direct the reliable assembly of viral capsids on biologically relevant timescales.
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