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De novo designed self-assembling peptides (SAPs) are promising building blocks of supramolecular biomaterials, which can fulfill a wide range of applications, such as scaffolds for tissue culture, three-dimensional cell culture, and vaccine adjuvants. Nevertheless, the use of SAPs in intracellular spaces has mostly been unexplored. Here, we report a self-assembling peptide, Y15 (YEYKYEYKYEYKYEY), which readily forms β-sheet structures to facilitate bottom-up synthesis of functional protein assemblies in living cells. Superfolder green fluorescent protein (sfGFP) fused to Y15 assembles into fibrils and is observed as fluorescent puncta in mammalian cells. Y15 self-assembly is validated by fluorescence anisotropy and pull-down assays. By using the Y15 platform, we demonstrate intracellular reconstitution of Nck assembly, a Src-homology 2 and 3 domain-containing adaptor protein. The artificial clusters of Nck induce N-WASP (neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein)-mediated actin polymerization, and the functional importance of Nck domain valency and density is evaluated.


Takayuki Miki, Taichi Nakai, Masahiro Hashimoto, Keigo Kajiwara, Hiroshi Tsutsumi, Hisakazu Mihara. Intracellular artificial supramolecules based on de novo designed Y15 peptides. Nature communications. 2021 Jun 07;12(1):3412

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PMID: 34099696

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