How Similar Are Proteins and Origami?

Hay Azulay, Aviv Lutaty, Nir Qvit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Protein folding and structural biology are highly active disciplines that combine basic research in various fields, including biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science, with practical applications in biomedicine and nanotechnology. However, there are still gaps in the understanding of the detailed mechanisms of protein folding, and protein structure-function relations. In an effort to bridge these gaps, this paper studies the equivalence of proteins and origami. Research on proteins and origami provides strong evidence to support the use of origami folding principles and mechanical models to explain aspects of proteins formation and function. Although not identical, the equivalence of origami and proteins emerges in: (i) the folding processes, (ii) the shape and structure of proteins and origami models, and (iii) the intrinsic mechanical properties of the folded structures/models, which allows them to synchronically fold/unfold and effectively distribute forces to the whole structure. As a result, origami can contribute to the understanding of various key protein-related mechanisms and support the design of de novo proteins and nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number622
Issue number5
StatePublished - 21 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • auxetic
  • origami
  • protein
  • tensegrity
  • tessellation


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