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Geometrical frustration yields fiber formation in self-assembly.


ABSTRACT: Controlling the self-assembly of supramolecular structures is vital for living cells, and a central challenge for engineering at the nano- and microscales [1, 2]. Nevertheless, even particles without optimized shapes can robustly form well-defined morphologies. This is the case in numerous medical conditions where normally soluble proteins aggregate into fibers [3, 4]. Beyond the diversity of molecular mechanisms involved [5, 6], we propose that fibers generically arise from the aggregation of irregular particles with short-range interactions. Using a minimal model of ill-fitting, sticky particles, we demonstrate robust fiber formation for a variety of particle shapes and aggregation conditions. Geometrical frustration plays a crucial role in this process, and accounts for the range of parameters in which fibers form as well as for their metastable character.

SUBMITTER: Lenz M 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5669487 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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