American Chemical Society
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Supramolecular Modulation of Fluid Flow in a Self-Powered Enzyme Micropump

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-18, 14:40 authored by Chinmayee Agashe, Akshay Saroha, Sarit S. Agasti, Debabrata Patra
Regulating macroscopic fluid flow by catalytic harnessing of chemical energy could potentially provide a solution for powerless microfluidic devices. Earlier reports have shown that surface-anchored enzymes can actuate the surrounding fluid in the presence of the respective substrate in a concentration-dependent manner. It is also crucial to have control over the flow speed of a self-powered enzyme micropump in various applications where controlled dosing and mixing are required. However, modulating the flow speed independent of the fuel concentration remains a significant challenge. In a quest to regulate the fluid flow in such a system, a supramolecular approach has been adopted, where reversible regulation of enzyme activity was achieved by a two-faced synthetic receptor bearing sulfonamide and adamantane groups. The bovine carbonic anhydrase (BCA) enzyme containing a single binding site favorable to the sulfonamide group was used as a model enzyme, and the enzyme activity was inhibited in the presence of the two-faced inhibitor. The same effect was reflected when the immobilized enzyme was used as an engine to actuate the fluid flow. The flow velocity was reduced up to 53% in the presence of 100 μM inhibitor. Later, upon addition of a supramolecular “host” CB[7], the inhibitor was sequestered from the enzyme due to the higher binding affinity of CB[7] with the adamantane functionality of the inhibitor. As a result, the flow velocity was restored to ∼72%, thus providing successful supramolecular control over a self-powered enzyme micropump.