Designer proteins for bottom-up synthetic biology
This chapter discusses recent developments in sub- and extra-cellular biological systems assembled from designer polypeptides. Artificial and semi-designed extracellular matrices and viruses are described from the perspective of bottom-up synthetic biology and protein-inspired fabrication. The main emphasis is placed on protein self-assembly as a versatile tool of engineering biology aiming to create biological parts and devices that do not necessarily originate in nature. This intimately serves the fundamentals of synthetic biology, while addressing the main problem in biomolecular design being our incomplete understanding of how structure relates to function. Basic design principles are explained to introduce the need for designing synthetic biologics with future perspectives given in the light of the commercialisation of synthetic biology. The chapter reviews research findings published over the last few years to the time of its submission, with a reference given to background information, which covers an unlimited timeframe citing literature sourced from different databases including Web of Science, RCSB Protein Data Bank and PubMed.