Autonomous nanovehicles powered by energy derived from chemical catalysis have potential applications as active delivery agents. For in vivo applications, it is necessary that the engine and its fuel, as well as the chassis itself, be biocompatible. Enzyme molecules have been shown to display enhanced motility through substrate turnover and are attractive candidates as engines; phospholipid vesicles are biocompatible and can serve as cargo containers. Herein, we describe the autonomous movement of vesicles with membrane-bound enzymes in the presence of the substrate. We find that the motility of the vesicles increases with increasing enzymatic turnover rate. The enhanced diffusion of these enzyme-powered systems was further substantiated in real time by tracking the motion of the vesicles using optical microscopy. The membrane-bound protocells that move by transducing chemical energy into mechanical motion serve as models for motile living cells and are key to the elucidation of the fundamental mechanisms governing active membrane dynamics and cellular movement.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering