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Dynamic Detection of Active Enzyme Instructed Supramolecular Assemblies In Situ via Super-Resolution Microscopy

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posted on 06.04.2020, 14:44 by Qingxin Yao, Chenlei Wang, Meifang Fu, Luru Dai, Junbai Li, Yuan Gao
Inspired by the self-assembly phenomena in nature, the instructed self-assembly of exogenous small molecules in a biological environment has become a prevalent process to control cell fate. Despite mounting examples of versatile bioactivities, the underlying mechanism remains less understood, which is in large hindered by the difficulties in the identification of those dynamic assemblies in situ. Here, with direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy, we are able to elucidate the dynamic morphology transformation of the enzyme-instructed supramolecular assemblies in situ inside cancer cells with a resolution below 50 nm. It indicates that the assembling molecules endure drastically different pathways between cell lines with different phosphatase activities and distribution. In HeLa cells, the direct formation of intracellular supramolecular nanofibers showed slight cytotoxicity, which was due to the possible cellular secretory pathway to excrete those exogenous molecules assemblies. In contrast, in Saos-2 cells with active phosphatase on the cell surface, assemblies with granular morphology first formed on the cell membranes, followed by a transformation into nanofibers and accumulation in cells, which induced Saos-2 cell death eventually. Overall, we provided a convenient method to reveal the in situ dynamic nanomorphology transformation of the supramolecular assemblies in a biological environment, in order to decipher their diverse biological activities.