Remote Control of Enzymes

Regulation of enzymes by naturally occurring mechanisms such as phosphorylation is fundamental to life. Small molecule control of enzymes underlies the action of many pharmaceutical drugs. Bulk thermal control of enzymatic activity enables many laboratory and industrial processes such as PCR and aspartame synthesis. Our overall goal is to establish an entirely new method for regulating enzymes. This method uses the nano- localized heat generated by metal nanoclusters such as Au102(SR)44 or Au coated Fe3O4 nanoparticles under radiofrequency (RF) irradiation to thermally influence the activity of a nanocluster/enzyme conjugate. The RF is chosen to interact minimally with other components of the mixture, analogous to the RF used for Wi-Fi. Thus, this nano-local thermal enzyme control does not modify the solution temperature, nor should it influence the activity of enzymes that are not directly conjugated to nanoclusters.

Schematic of remote activation of enzymes conjugated to a biocompatible magnetic particle using RF.
Gold coated magnetite particles before (a) and after (b) gold coating.