It fell from the heavens, it fell into my arms, and it left me raked with scars. The pain was great, my mind distended and transcended the realm of personal definition. Looking down through my memories through a veil of white I saw, I saw stagnation: Humanity festering in a honeycombed metropolis called Earth, fat men eating sugar whilst the skinny sweat out their salt, lost children guided into a philosophic abattoir. Then my vision began to fade, the light of every colour left shadows of every shape shifting across my retina. I lost order, I began to work at making work and ate without swallowing. Now I am unsure I ever felt that pain; that I ever was conscious of the fact an ideal (any) exists as a conceit of the world and not of a sick mind. I try to play with fire, but I am already burnt once, so I’m just waiting for the regrowth to fuel tomorrow.
“Then appears a singular being having a man’s head atop the body of a fish,” Odilon Redon. Plate V in The Temptation of Saint Anthony, 1888, lithograph. 17.7 x 12.5 in. (sheet). The Getty Research Institute, 2011.PR.30
The enormous potential of proteins as molecular components of nanodevices and smart materials has been heralded for some time, but successful examples of designed protein nanostructures remain scarce. This is in part due to the paucity of generic building blocks that can be manipulated to build structures of choice. Here we highlight two doughnut-shaped proteins as new building blocks, and early results showing that their supramolecular assembly can be controlled by a combination of site-directed mutagenesis and environmental triggers. Firstly, we present data to show that peroxiredoxin proteins assemble in response to a redox trigger, pH and designed peptides, and that these transitions vary according to specific site-directed mutations at key interfaces. Secondly, we demonstrate that Lsm proteins can assemble into previously unobserved supramolecular assemblies in response to a metal ion trigger. Overall, these systems show promise as components for designer nanostructures (and yes, there will be free samples of doughnuts).