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Viruses as Self-Assembled Templates


  1. Jennifer M. Rego,
  2. Hyunmin Yi

Published Online: 15 MAR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470661345.smc087

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials

How to Cite

Rego, J. M. and Yi, H. 2012. Viruses as Self-Assembled Templates. Supramolecular Chemistry: From Molecules to Nanomaterials. .

Author Information

  1. Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2012


Research endeavors in employing viruses and virus-like protein assemblies as biologically derived nanotemplates for nanomaterials synthesis and device fabrication have recently experienced significant growth. Materials and applications arising from this novel bottom-up assembly approach vary widely from metal and metal oxide nanoparticles and nanowires for catalysis and nanoelectronics, high surface area electrodes for energy applications, to sensing or tissue engineering scaffolds for biomedical applications. By harnessing and manipulating the exquisite control that Nature has provided, the overarching goal for this emerging field of nanobiotechnology has been to achieve features and performances that transcend what is possible from inorganic, man-made methods. In this review, we describe the chemical aspects from a selected number of exciting studies based on three viral shape categories: rod, icosahedral, and filamentous. Increasing the understanding and better manipulation of the unique advantages that each category of viruses offers has led to distinct nanomaterials and applications; polymeric conducting nanofibers from rod-shaped tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), catalytically active nanoparticles with highly controlled sizes from cowpea chlorotic mosaic virus (CCMV), and biopanning-based affinity selection from M13 bacteriophage libraries, to name a few. Such novel materials from these bottom-up assembly approaches are starting to show performances and capabilities beyond or impossible to be achieved via traditional materials, top-down approaches, and inorganic devices.


  • virus;
  • self-assembly;
  • tobacco mosaic virus;
  • cowpea mosaic virus;
  • cowpea chlorotic mosaic virus;
  • bacteriophage;
  • phage display;
  • nanobiotechnology