Chemical Cascading Between Polymersomal Nanoreactor Populations

Yigit Altay, Antoni Llopis-Lorente, Loai K. E. A. Abdelmohsen, Jan C.M. van Hest

Published: 2022


Harnessing interactions of functional nano-compartments to generate larger particle assemblies allows studying diverse biological behaviors based on their population states and can lead to the development of smart materials. Herein, thiol-functionalized polymersome nanoreactors are utilized as responsive organelle-like nano-compartments—with inherent capacity to associate into larger aggregates in response to change in the redox state of their environment—to study the kinetics of cascade reactions and explore functions of their collective under different population states. Two nanoreactor populations, glucose oxidase- and horseradish peroxidase-loaded polymersomes, are prepared, and the results of their cascading upon addition of glucose are investigated. The kinetics of resorufin production in associated polymersomes and non-associated polymersome populations are compared, observing a decreased rate upon association. For the associated populations, faster chemical cascading is found when the two types of nanoreactors are associated in a concerted step, as compared to sequential association. The addition of competing agents such as catalase impacts the communication between non-associated polymersomes, whereas such an effect is less pronounced for the associated ones. Altogether, the results showcase the impact of collective associations on enzymatic cascading between organelle-like nanoreactors.

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