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Enzymatic reactions in polymeric compartments: nanotechnology meets nature
- Belluati, Andrea, Craciun, Ioana, Meyer, Claire E, Rigo, Serena, Palivan, Cornelia G
- Current opinion in biotechnology 2019 v.60 pp. 53-62
- enzymatic reactions, enzymes, nanotechnology, polymers
- One of the main features of living matter is compartmentalization, that is the temporal and spatial division of biological reactions and containment of the cellular components. Nanotechnology aims to replicate this, separating tiny environments from the exterior into nano-sized and micro-sized self-assembled compartments. Those synthetic compartments can perform reactions, be tracked and act in vivo. Here, an overview of the techniques to fabricate vesicular, polymer-based catalytic compartments and the parameters affecting their architecture is presented. How communication can be ensured across their membranes, recent developments in the enzymes that have been loaded into them and the latest advances in biological applications are discussed. This review highlights the characteristics that make polymers an enticing choice, the protection they offer, and their applications in compartmentalizing biologically relevant reactions.