Ankyrin Repeats

Modulation of hydrophobic core residues alters helix pitch.

Ankyrin (ANK) repeats stack side-by-side to form helical concatemers that resemble nanometer-sized metal springs. Using the native 24-repeat stack from human ankyrin, we showed that helical shaped ANK-repeat proteins not only look like springs, they also function like springs.

We have identified residue modification that control the shape of the helices formed by the repeats and are now developing engineered ANK-repeat protein springs for the purpose of making nanodevices.


  • Davis L, Abdi K, Machius M, Brautigam C, Tomchick DR, Bennett V, Michaely P. Localization and structure of the ankyrin-binding site on beta2-spectrin. J Biol Chem. 2009 284:6982-7. PMID: 19098307.
  • Lee G, Abdi K, Jiang Y, Michaely P, Bennett V, Marszalek PE. Nanospring behavior of ankyrin repeats. Nature. 2006 440:246-9. PMID: 16415852.