Stephan Sinn, Liulin Yang, Frank Biedermann, Di Wang, Christian Kübel, Jeroen J.L.M. Cornelissen and Luisa De Cola;
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140 (6), pp 2355-2362.
Virus-like particles (VLPs) have been created from luminescent Pt(II)-complex amphiphiles, able to form supramolecular structures in water solutions, that can be encapsulated or act as templates of cowpea chlorotic mottle viruses (CCMV) capsid proteins. By virtue of a bottom-up molecular design, icosahedral and non-icosahedral (rod-like) VLPs have been constructed through diverse pathways and a relationship between the molecular structure of the complexes and the shape and size of the VLPs has been ob-served. A deep insight into the mechanism for the templated formation of the differently shaped VLPs was achieved, by electron microscopy measurements (TEM and STEM) and bulk analysis (FPLC, DLS, photophysical investigations). Interestingly, the ob-tained VLPs can be visualized by their intense emission at room temperature, generated by the self-assembly of the Pt(II)-complexes. The encapsulation of the luminescent species is further verified by their higher emission quantum yields inside the VLPs, which is due to the confinement effect of the protein cage. These hybrid materials demonstrate the potential of tailor-made supramolecular systems able to control the assembly of biological building blocks.