Cage-shaped protein (CSP) complexes are frequently used in bionanotechnology, and they have a variety of different architectures and sizes. The smallest cage-shaped protein, Dps (DNA binding protein from starved cells), can naturally form iron oxide biominerals in a multistep process of ion attraction, translocation, oxidation, and nucleation. The structural basis of this biomineralization mechanism is still unclear. The aim of this paper is to further develop understanding of this topic. Time-resolved metal translocation of Yb3+ ions has been investigated on Dps surfaces using X-ray crystallography. The results reveal that the soak time of protein crystals with Yb3+ ions strongly affects metal positions during metal translocation, in particular, around and inside the ion translocation pore. We have trapped a dynamic state with ongoing translocation events and compared this to a static state, which is reached when the cavity of Dps is entirely filled by metal ions and translocation is therefore blocked. By comparison with La3+ and Co2+ datasets, the time-dependence together with the coordination sphere chemistry primarily determine metal−protein interactions. Our data can allow structure-based protein engineering to generate CSPs for the production of tailored nanoparticles.
- Bio-imaging carrier
- Medical therapy carrier