2021-002 – Non-Canonical Lipoproteins With Programmable Assembly and Architecture

  • Lipoproteins can be used for material science applications including cargo release or cell scaffolds
  • May be used as part of an assemply of more complex structures


Artificial lipoproteins bearing non-canonical post-translational modifications that are synthesized by leveraging substrate promiscuity of an acyltransferase. The non-canonical functionality of these lipoprotein results in a distinctive hysteretic assembly that is absent from the canonical lipoproteins and is used to prepare hybrid multiblock materials with precise and programmable patterns of amphiphilicity due to the unique assembly and function of the non-canonical post-translational modifications.


This invention is the first to use these unnatural lipids for materials science applications and for creating shape-shifting bio-derived nanoparticles. Though synthetic lipids have been used previously in the field of chemical biology for visualizing lipoproteins in the cells, their potential to drive the self-assembly of proteins has not been explored. This work also extends a previous demonstration of using prokaroyotes to make lipoproteins from naturally occurring lipids, by using myristic acid (biological) lipid to a limitless number of synthetically available lipids.

Potential Applications

A programmable morphological change from nanoparticles to fibers can be used to simultaneously release encapsulated cargo and provide a scaffold for cell-adhesion and growth. Non-canonical lipids can also be used as chemical handles for structural elaboration and synthesis of hybrid materials with a unique and precise amphiphilic pattern. These hybrid systems can be programmed to assemble into complex 2D and 3D morphologies to form materials with unique optical and mechanical properties.

This work also paves the way to use synthetic lipids with biological activity to prepare recombinant therapeutics. Biolipids are precursors of hormones and secondary messengers, and therefore their synthetic analogues can act as therapeutics or immunomodulators. This work opens the path to use these nc-LPs as hybrid recombinant therapeutics.

Contact Information

Name: Jennifer Crisp

Email: jmcrisp@syr.edu

Phone: 315-443-5196