At ITMO University, scientists have devised a new technique to improve the activity of enzymes by applying radio frequency radiation. The novel technique involves making a unique complex containing magnetic nanoparticles and enzymes.
The particles are capable of adsorbing radio emission and changing it to heat, which eventually speeds up the enzymatic processes by over four times. Simultaneously, the enzyme covered by particles turns out to be more resistant to extreme temperatures. Such a technique can be used for developing radio-controlled biochemical systems and also for adjusting metabolism in living organisms. The study results have been reported in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.
Enzymes play an important role in many different reactions in living organisms, while their effectiveness relies on various conditions. Most often, the enzyme activity is chemically controlled, but ITMO researchers have demonstrated that this can be remotely done through physical techniques like radio frequency field.
The researchers developed radio-controlled enzymes by synthesizing a unique complex, wherein an enzyme is covered in a stiff porous framework of magnetite nanoparticles. Upon applying the radio field, the magnetic nanoparticles are able to adsorb radio emission and heat up subsequently, passing extra energy to the enzyme and expediting the rate of enzymatic reaction. An experiment performed on carbonic anhydrase—a model enzyme—showed that it is possible to increase the reaction rate by over four times.
There are very few studies out there that explore enzyme manipulation through the radio waves. We were the first who managed to increase the activity of a non-thermostable enzyme. Typically, these enzymes change the conformation at high temperatures and then stop working. But placed within the rigid framework of nanoparticles, the enzyme is stabilized from structure rearrangements as the nanoparticles mechanically restrict the enzyme mobility.
Andrey Drozdov, SCAMT Laboratory, ITMO University
Two main parameters exist among the benefits of the radio emission applied in this study. While such radio waves can effortlessly pass through the tissues, they do not cause any harm to the body. Hence, by applying the radiofrequency field, the activity of enzymes in the body can be controlled and cell metabolism can be adjusted. In the coming days, researchers will plan to apply this technique to other forms of enzymes in an effort to influence the bacteria or cells’ vital activity.
Since this topic has a lot of potentials, further work will focus on using the technique with other enzymes, as well as in living cells. For example, it is still unclear whether it is possible with this method to make bacteria or cells divide more often or, on the contrary, to stop their division.
Yulia Andreeva, Study First Author, ITMO University