Hybrid Biodegradable Nanomotors through Compartmentalized Synthesis

Imke A. B. Pijpers, Shoupeng Cao, Antoni Llopis-Lorente, Jianzhi Zhu, Shidong Song, Rick R. M. Joosten, Fenghua Meng, Heiner Friedrich, David S. Williams, Samuel Sánchez, Jan C. M. van Hest, and Loai K. E. A. Abdelmohsen

Published: 10/06/2020


Designer particles that are embued with nanomachinery for autonomous motion have great potential for biomedical applications; however, their development is highly demanding with respect to biodegradability/compatibility. Previously, biodegradable propulsive machinery based on enzymes has been presented. However, enzymes are highly susceptible to proteolysis and deactivation in biological milieu. Biodegradable hybrid nanomotors powered by catalytic inorganic nanoparticles provide a proteolytically stable alternative to those based upon enzymes. Herein we describe the assembly of hybrid biodegradable nanomotors capable of transducing chemical energy into motion. Such nanomotors are constructed through a process of compartmentalized synthesis of inorganic MnO2 nanoparticles (MnPs) within the cavity of organic stomatocytes. We show that the nanomotors remain active in cellular environments and do not compromise cell viability. Effective tumor penetration of hybrid nanomotors is also demonstrated in proof-of-principle experiments. Overall, this work represents a new prospect for engineering of nanomotors that can retain their functionality within biological contexts.

Full Access Link: Nano Letters