Protein Nanotubes as Building Blocks
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Nanometer scale self-assemblies of biological molecules, such as protein nanotubes, play important roles in nature to regulate biological activities. It is a natural progress to synthesize protein nanotubes in order to mimic those biological functions and apply for medical applications such as drug delivery and medical imaging. Although it appears to be unlikely, peptide nanotubes are also applied to non-biological fields such as electronics, sensors, catalysis, and optics because those smart, selective peptide functions can be applied in various device fabrication processes. Those new types of building blocks with smart biological functions may offer more economical, reproducible, accurate, and simpler methods in device fabrications. In this article, various examples of natural and synthetic protein nanotubes and their functionalizations for particular applications are discussed.