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Enzyme triggered supramolecular self-assembly in vitro and inside living cells

Yuan Gao (NIH/NIST)

Self-assembly occurs at all scales. Since the establishment of the concept of supramolecular chemistry and the key role of weak interactions (e.g., van der Waals, p-p, ionic, and hydrogen bonds) in biology and materials sciences, molecular self-assembly has become a powerful strategy to create new materials and develop new technologies for broad biological applications, e.g. drug release, cell differentiation, and tissue engineering. Enzymes, not only is the intrinsic component in biologic systems, but also catalyzes most of the chemical reactions in physiological conditions, which makes it unique strategy to construct supramolecular self-assembly inside living cells. Based on the suitable imaging techniques, we can evaluate the intracellular self-assembly, the dynamics, and the localization of the nanofibers of the hydrogelators in live cells. This approach explores supramolecular chemistry inside cells and may lead to new insights, processes, or materials at the interface of chemistry and biology.

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