Technological watch

Engineering Tobacco Mosaic Virus and Its Virus?Like?Particles for Synthesis of Biotemplated Nanomaterials

Plant virus capsids and their virus?like particles derivatives serve as templates for the synthesis of nanomaterials for diverse applications. In this review, how these templates are engineered to control assembly, surface functionalization, and ultimately material synthesis are discussed. Driving the development of these platforms are advances from synthetic biology and machine learning that direct specific engineering efforts for various applications.AbstractBiomolecules are increasingly attractive templates for the synthesis of functional nanomaterials. Chief among them is the plant tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) due to its high aspect ratio, narrow size distribution, diverse biochemical functionalities presented on the surface, and compatibility with a number of chemical conjugations. These properties are also easily manipulated by genetic modification to enable the synthesis of a range of metallic and non?metallic nanomaterials for diverse applications. This article reviews the characteristics of TMV and related viruses, and their virus?like particle (VLP) derivatives, and how these may be manipulated to extend their use and function. A focus of recent efforts has been on greater understanding and control of the self?assembly processes that drive biotemplate formation. How these features have been exploited in engineering applications such as, sensing, catalysis, and energy storage are briefly outlined. While control of VLP surface features is well?established, fewer tools exist to control VLP self?assembly, which limits efforts to control template uniformity and synthesis of certain templated nanomaterials. However, emerging advances in synthetic biology, machine learning, and other fields promise to accelerate efforts to control template uniformity and nanomaterial synthesis enabling more widescale industrial use of VLP?based biotemplates.

Publication date: 13/11/2020

Author: Kok Zhi Lee, Vindula Basnayake Pussepitiyalage, Yu?Hsuan Lee, L. Sue Loesch?Fries, Michael T. Harris, Shohreh Hemmati, Kevin V. Solomon

Reference: doi:10.1002/biot.202000311



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.