In Cellulo Bioorthogonal Catalysis by Encapsulated AuPd Nanoalloys. Overcoming Intracellular Deactivation

Belen Rubio Ruiz, Ana Perez-Lopez, Laura Uson, Mari Carmen Ortega Liebana, Teresa Valero, Manuel Arruebo, Jose L Hueso, Victor Sebastian, Jesús Santamaría, Asier Unciti-Broceta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Bioorthogonal metallocatalysis has opened up a xenobiotic route to perform non-enzymatic catalytic transformations in living settings. Despite their promising features, most metals are deactivated inside cells by a myriad of reactive biomolecules,including biogenic thiols, thereby limiting the catalytic functioning of these abiotic reagents. Here we report the development of
cytocompatible alloyed AuPd nanoparticles with the capacity to elicit bioorthogonal depropargylations with high efficiency in biological media. We also show that the intracellular catalytic performance of these nanoalloys is significantly enhanced by protecting them following two different encapsulation methods. Encapsulation in mesoporous silica nanorods resulted in augmented catalyst reactivity, whereas the use of a biodegradable PLGA matrix increased nanoalloy delivery across the cell membrane. The functional
potential of encapsulated AuPd was demonstrated by releasing the potent chemotherapy drug paclitaxel inside cancer cells. Nanoalloy encapsulation provides a novel methodology to develop nanoreactors capable of mediating new-to-life reactions in cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-811
JournalNano Letters
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Palladium
  • Gold
  • Nanoalloys
  • Catalysis
  • Bioorthogonal,
  • Nanoencapsulation


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