The physics of protein self-assembly

Jennifer J. McManus, Patrick Charbonneau, Emanuela Zaccarelli, Neer Asherie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding protein self-assembly is important for many biological and industrial processes. Proteins can self-assemble into crystals, filaments, gels, and other amorphous aggregates. The final forms include virus capsids and condensed phases associated with diseases such as amyloid fibrils. Although seemingly different, these assemblies all originate from fundamental protein interactions and are driven by similar thermodynamic and kinetic factors. Here we review recent advances in understanding protein self-assembly through a soft condensed matter perspective with an emphasis on three specific systems: globular proteins, viruses, and amyloid fibrils. We conclude with a discussion of unanswered questions in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Amyloids
  • Crystallization
  • Patchy colloids
  • Protein
  • Self-assembly
  • Soft matter
  • Virus capsids

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