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Dynamic Loading and Unloading of Proteins in Polymeric Stomatocytes: Formation of an Enzyme-Loaded Supramolecular Nanomotor

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posted on 26.01.2016, 00:00 by Loai K. E. A. Abdelmohsen, Marlies Nijemeisland, Gajanan M. Pawar, Geert-Jan A. Janssen, Roeland J. M. Nolte, Jan C. M. van Hest, Daniela A. Wilson
Self-powered artificial nanomotors are currently attracting increased interest as mimics of biological motors but also as potential components of nanomachinery, robotics, and sensing devices. We have recently described the controlled shape transformation of polymersomes into bowl-shaped stomatocytes and the assembly of platinum-driven nanomotors. However, the platinum encapsulation inside the structures was low; only 50% of the structures contained the catalyst and required both high fuel concentrations for the propelling of the nanomotors and harsh conditions for the shape transformation. Application of the nanomotors in a biological setting requires the nanomotors to be efficiently propelled by a naturally available energy source and at biological relevant concentrations. Here we report a strategy for enzyme entrapment and nanomotor assembly via controlled and reversible folding of polymersomes into stomatocytes under mild conditions, allowing the encapsulation of the proteins inside the stomach with almost 100% efficiency and retention of activity. The resulting enzyme-driven nanomotors are capable of propelling these structures at low fuel concentrations (hydrogen peroxide or glucose) via a one-enzyme or two-enzyme system. The confinement of the enzymes inside the stomach does not hinder their activity and in fact facilitates the transfer of the substrates, while protecting them from the deactivating influences of the media. This is particularly important for future applications of nanomotors in biological settings especially for systems where fast autonomous movement occurs at physiological concentrations of fuel.