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REVIEW: Archaeal Flagella as Biotemplates for Nanomaterials with New Properties

S. N. Beznosov, M. G. Pyatibratov, and O. V. Fedorov*

Institute of Protein Research, Russian Academy of Sciences, 142290 Pushchino, Moscow Region; E-mail: fedorov@vega.protres.ru

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received May 30, 2017; Revision received July 6, 2017
At the end of 1980s, regions of the polypeptide chain of bacterial flagella subunits (flagellins) responsible for different properties of these protein polymers were identified by structural studies. It was found that the N- and C-terminal regions are responsible for the polymerization properties of subunits, and the central region is responsible for antigenic properties of the flagellum. Soon after that, it was proposed to use variability of the central flagellin domain for directed modification to impart new properties to the flagellum surface. Such studies of flagella and other polymeric structures of bacterial origin thrived. However bacterial polymers have some shortcomings, mainly their instability to dissociating effects. This shortcoming is absent in archaeal flagella. A limiting factor was the lack of the three-dimensional structure of archaeal flagellins. A method was developed that allowed modifying flagella of the halophilic archaeon Halobacterium salinarum in a peptide that connects positively charged ions. Later, corresponding procedures were used that allowed preparing the anode material for a lithium-ion battery whose characteristics 4-5-fold exceeded those of batteries commonly used in industrial production. We describe other advantages of archaeal flagella over bacterial analogs when used in nanotechnology.
KEY WORDS: Archaea, flagella, archaella, protein modification, biotemplated nanomaterials

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297918140067