Enzyme-directed assembly and manipulation of organic nanomaterials
Enzymes are the prime protagonists in the chemistry of living organisms. As such, chemists and biologists have long been fascinated by the array of highly selective transformations possible under biological conditions that are facilitated by enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Moreover, enzymes are involved in replicating, repairing and transmitting information in a highly selective and organized fashion through detection and signal amplification cascades. Indeed, because of their selectivity and potential for use outside of biological systems, enzymes have found immense utility in various biochemical assays and are increasingly finding applications in the preparation of small molecules. By contrast, the use of enzymatic reactions to prepare and build supramolecular and nanoscale materials is relatively rare. In this article, we seek to highlight efforts over the past 10 years at taking advantage of enzymatic reactions to assemble and manipulate complex soft, organic materials on the nanoscale. It is tantalizing to think of these processes as mimics of natural systems where enzymes are used in the assembly and transformation of the most complex nanomaterials known, for example, virus capsid assemblies and the myriad array of nanoscale biomolecular machinery.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Highlights in Chemistry