Emerging protein design strategies are enabling the creation of diverse, self-assembling supramolecular structures with precision on the atomic scale. The design possibilities include various types of architectures: finite cages or shells, essentially unbounded two-dimensional and three-dimensional arrays (i.e., crystals), and linear or tubular filaments. In nature, structures of those types are generally symmetric, and, accordingly, symmetry provides a powerful guide for developing new design approaches. Recent design studies have produced numerous protein assemblies in close agreement with geometric specifications. For certain design approaches, a complete list of allowable symmetry combinations that can be used for construction has been articulated, opening a path to a rich diversity of geometrically defined protein materials. Future challenges include improving and elaborating on current strategies and endowing designed protein nanomaterials with properties useful in nanomedicine and material science applications.


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