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1.  Non-destructively shattered mesoporous silica for protein drug delivery 
Mesoporous silicas have been extensively used for entrapping small chemical molecules and biomacromolecules for drug delivery. We hypothesize that the loading density of biomacromlecules such as proteins in mesoporous silicas could be limited due to disordering in the pore structure and long diffusion time in the pore channels. We shattered mesoporous silicas non-destructively resulting in improved intramesoporous structures and reduced particle sizes in aqueous solutions by a powerful sonication, where the mesoporous structures were still well maintained. The sonication-shattered mesoporous silica can increase the protein loading density to nearly 2.7 times as high as that of the non-shattered one, demonstrating that significantly more mesopore space of the silica could be accessible by the protein molecules, which may result in more sustained protein drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3653322  PMID: 23687455
Mesoporous silica; Non-destructive shattering; Intramesoporous structure; Protein drug delivery
2.  In situ regeneration of NADH via lipoamide dehydrogenase-catalyzed electron transfer reaction evidenced by spectroelectrochemistry 
NAD/NADH is a coenzyme found in all living cells, carrying electrons from one reaction to another. We report on characterizations of in situ regeneration of NADH via lipoamide dehydrogenase (LD)-catalyzed electron transfer reaction to regenerate NADH using UV-vis spectroelectrochemistry. The Michaelis-Menten constant (Km) and maximum velocity (Vmax) of NADH regeneration were measured as 0.80 ± 0.15 mM and 1.91 ± 0.09 μM s-1 in a 1-mm thin-layer spectroelectrochemical cell using gold gauze as the working electrode at the applied potential -0.75 V (vs. Ag/AgCl). The electrocatalytic reduction of the NAD system was further coupled with the enzymatic conversion of pyruvate to lactate by lactate dehydrogenase to examine the coenzymatic activity of the regenerated NADH. Although the reproducible electrocatalytic reduction of NAD into NADH is known to be difficult compared to the electrocatalytic oxidation of NADH, our spectroelectrochemical results indicate that the in situ regeneration of NADH via LD-catalyzed electron transfer reaction is fast and sustainable and can be potentially applied to many NAD/NADH-dependent enzyme systems.
PMCID: PMC3340538  PMID: 22497727
NADH; biocatalytic reduction; electron transfer mediator; spectroelectrochemistry
3.  Intramesoporous silica structure differentiating protein loading density 
Materials letters  2012;75:102-106.
We report that hydrothermal aging temperature had a critical effect on intramesoporous structure of mesoporous silica and thus the intramesoporous structure affected protein loading in the mesoporous silica significantly. For a neutral protein Immunoglobulin G with a Y-like molecular shape, the larger desorption pore size allowed the larger protein loading. For a charged protein glucose oxidase with an elliptical molecular shape, the larger surface area resulted in the larger protein loading. Fluorescence emission spectra from tyrosinyl and tryptophanyl residues of the proteins in mesoporous silicas indicated that the charged protein was electrostatically attached inside the mesopores in a way of monolayer, while the neutral protein IgG could continue to aggregate after the monolayer occupancy.
PMCID: PMC3381428  PMID: 22745517
Mesoporous materials; Proteins; Drug delivery; Intramesoporous structure; Hydrothermal aging temperatures
4.  Enzymatic conversion of CO2 to bicarbonate in functionalized mesoporous silica 
We report here a concept converting carbon dioxide to biocarbonate in a biomimetic nanoconfiguration. Carbonic anhydrase (CA), the fastest enzyme that can covert carbon dioxide to bicarbonate, can be spontaneously entrapped in carboxylic acid group-functionalized mesoporous silica (HOOC-FMS) with super-high loading density (up to 0.5 mg of protein/mg of FMS) in sharp contrast to normal porous silica. The binding of CA to HOOC-FMS resulted in a partial conformational change comparing to the enzyme free in solution, but it can be overcome with increased protein loading density. The higher the protein loading density, the less conformational change, hence the higher enzymatic activity and the higher enzyme immobilization efficiency (up to >60%). The released enzyme still displayed the native conformational structure and the same high enzymatic activity as that prior to the enzyme entrapment, indicating that the conformational change resulted from the electrostatic interaction of CA with HOOC-FMS was not permanent. This work may provide a new approach converting carbon dioxide to biocarbonate that can be integrated with the other part of biosynthesis process for the assimilation of carbon dioxide.
PMCID: PMC3266371  PMID: 22287934
carbonic anhydrase; functionalized mesopoorous silica; enzymatic activity; carbon dioxide; biocarbonate
5.  In vitro release of organophosphorus acid anhydrolase from functionalized mesoporous silica against nerve agents 
Analytical Biochemistry  2011;421(2):477-481.
We report here that under different physiological conditions, biomolecular drugs can be stockpiled in a nanoporous support and afterwards can be instantly released when needed for acute responses, and the biomolecular drug molecules can also be gradually released from the nanoporous support over a long time for a complete recovery. Organophosphorus acid anhydrolase (OPAA) was spontaneously and largely entrapped in functionalized mesoporous silica (FMS) due to the dominant electrostatic interaction. The OPAA-FMS composite exhibited a burst release in pH 9.0, NaHCO3-Na2CO3 buffer system and a gradual release in pH 7.4, simulated body fluid. The binding of OPAA to NH2-FMS can result in less Trp exposure of OPAA molecules to aqueous environment. The bound OPAA in FMS displayed lower activity than the free OPAA in solution prior to the enzyme entrapment. However, the released enzyme still displayed the native conformational structure and the same high enzymatic activity as that prior to the enzyme entrapment. The in vitro results in the rabbit serum demonstrate that both OPAA-FMS and the released OPAA may be used as the medical measures against the organophosphorus nerve agents.
PMCID: PMC3274626  PMID: 22019765
Controlled release; organophosphorus acid anhydrolase; mesoporous silica; organophosphorus nerve agents
6.  Conformational Variability of Organophosphorous Hydrolase upon Soman and Paraoxon Binding 
The journal of physical chemistry. B  2011;115(51):15389-15398.
The bacterial enzyme organophosphorous hydrolase (OPH) exhibits both catalytic and substrate promiscuity. It hydrolyzes bonds in a variety of phosphotriester (P-O), phosphonothioate (P-S), phosphofluoridate (P-F) and phosphonocyanate (F-CN) compounds. However, its catalytic efficiency varies markedly for different substrates, limiting the broad-range application of OPH as catalyst in the bioremediation of pesticides and chemical war agents. In the present study, pKa calculations and multiple explicit-solvent molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed to characterize and contrast the structural dynamics of OPH bound to two substrates hydrolyzed with very distinct catalytic efficiencies: the nerve agent soman (O-pinacolyl-methyl-phosphonofluoridate) and the pesticide paraoxon (diethyl p-nitrophenyl phosphate). pKa calculations for the substrate-bound and unbound enzyme showed a significant pKa shift from standard values (ΔpKa=±3 units) for residues 254His and 275Arg. MD simulations of the doubly protonated 254His revealed a dynamic hydrogen bond network connecting the catalytic residue 301Asp via 254His to 232Asp, 233Asp, 275Arg and 235Asp, and is consistent with a previously postulated proton relay mechanism to ferry protons away from the active site with substrates that do not require activation of the leaving group. Hydrogen bonds between 301Asp and 254His were persistent in the OPH-paraoxon complex but not in the OPH-soman one, suggesting a potential role for such interaction in the more efficient hydrolysis of paraoxon over soman by OPH. These results are in line with previous mutational studies of residue 254His, which led to an increase of the catalytic efficiency of OPH over soman yet decreased its efficiency for paraoxon. In addition, comparative analysis of the molecular trajectories for OPH bound to soman and paraoxon suggests that binding of the latter facilitates the conformational transition of OPH from the open to the closed substate promoting a tighter binding of paraoxon.
PMCID: PMC3549322  PMID: 22098575
phosphotriesterase; pKa; protonation states; soman; paraoxon; atomistic molecular dynamics; reaction mechanism; proton relay pathway
7.  Delivery of MicroRNA-10b with Polylysine Nanoparticles for Inhibition of Breast Cancer Cell Wound Healing 
Recent studies revealed that micro RNA-10b (mir-10b) is highly expressed in metastatic breast cancer cells and positively regulates breast cancer cell migration and invasion through inhibition of HOXD10 target synthesis. In this study we designed anti-mir-10b molecules and combined them with poly L-lysine (PLL) to test the delivery effectiveness. An RNA molecule sequence exactly matching the mature mir-10b minor antisense showed strong inhibition when mixed with PLL in a wound-healing assay with human breast cell line MDA-MB-231. The resulting PLL-RNA nanoparticles delivered the anti-microRNA molecules into cytoplasm of breast cancer cells in a concentration-dependent manner that displayed sustainable effectiveness.
PMCID: PMC3256732  PMID: 22259248
microRNA-10b; breast cancer metastasis; nanoparticles
9.  The Role of Non-Bonded Interactions in the Conformational Dynamics of Organophosphorous Hydrolase Adsorbed onto Functionalized Mesoporous Silica Surfaces 
The enzyme organophosphorous hydrolase (OPH) catalyzes the hydrolysis of a wide variety of organophosphorous compounds with high catalytic efficiency and broad substrate specificity. The immobilization of OPH in functionalized mesoporous silica (FMS) surfaces increases significantly its catalytic specific activity compared to the enzyme in solution with important applications for the detection and decontamination of insecticides and chemical warfare agents. Experimental measurements of immobilization efficiency as function of the charge and coverage percentage of different functional groups have been interpreted as electrostatic forces being the predominant interactions underlying the adsorption of OPH onto FMS surfaces. Explicit solvent molecular dynamics simulations have been performed for OPH in bulk solution and adsorbed onto two distinct interaction potential models of the FMS functional groups in order to investigate the relative contributions of non-bonded interactions to the conformational dynamics and adsorption of the protein. Our results support the conclusion that electrostatic interactions are responsible for the binding of OPH to the FMS surface. However, these results also show that van der Waals forces are detrimental for interfacial adhesion. In addition, it is found that OPH adsorption onto the FMS models favors a protein conformation whose active site is fully accessible to the substrate in contrast to the unconfined protein.
PMCID: PMC2818561  PMID: 19938866
molecular dynamics simulations; bacterial phosphotriesterase; conformational changes; confined environments; coarse-grain and atomistic models; silanol molecular model
10.  Probing mechanisms for enzymatic activity enhancement of organophosphorus hydrolase in functionalized mesoporous silica 
We have previously reported that organophosphorus hydrolase (OPH) can be spontaneously entrapped in functionalized mesoporous silica (FMS) with HOOC-as the functional groups and the entrapped OPH in HOOC-FMS showed enhanced enzyme specific activity. This work is to study the mechanisms that why OPH entrapped in FMS displayed the enhanced activity in views of OPH-FMS interactions using spectroscopic methods. The circular dichroism (CD) spectra show that, comparing to the secondary structure of OPH free in solution, OPH in HOOC-FMS displayed increased α-helix/β-strand transition of OPH with increased OPH loading density. The fluorescence emission spectra of Trp residues were used to assess the tertiary structural changes of the enzyme. There was a 42% increase in fluorescence. This is in agreement with the fact that the fluorescence intensity of OPH was increased accompanying with the increased OPH activity when decreasing urea concentrations in solution. The steady-state anisotropy was increased after OPH entrapping in HOOC-FMS comparing to the free OPH in solution, indicating that protein mobility was reduced upon entrapment. The solvent accessibility of Trp residues of OPH was probed by using acrylamide as a collisional quencher. Trp residues of OPH-FMS had less solvent exposure comparing with free OPH in solution due to its electrostatical binding to HOOC-FMS thereby displaying the increased fluorescence intensity. These results suggest the interactions of OPH with HOOC-FMS resulted in the protein immobilization and a favorable conformational change for OPH in the crowded confinement space and accordingly the enhanced activity.
PMCID: PMC2879136  PMID: 19874798
organophosphorus hydrolase; mesoporous silica; enzyme activity; conformational change; spectroscopic methods

Results 1-10 (10)