There is enormous interest in molecular self-assembly and the development of biological systems to form smart nanostructures for biotechnology (so-called ‘bottom-up fabrications’). Repeat proteins are ideal choices for development of such systems as they: (i) possess a relatively simple relationship between sequence, structure and function; (ii) are modular and non-globular in structure; (iii) act as diverse scaffolds for the mediation of a diverse range of protein–protein interactions; and (iv) have been extensively studied and successfully engineered and designed. In the present review, we summarize recent advances in the use of engineered repeat proteins in the self-assembly of novel materials, nanostructures and biosensors. In particular, we show that repeat proteins are excellent monomeric programmable building blocks that can be triggered to associate into a range of morphologies and can readily be engineered as stimuli-responsive biofunctional materials.

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