Biocatalytic Single-Enzyme Nanoparticles
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Enzymes are useful biocatalysts of nanometer scale that regulate the chemistry of cells and organisms. The potential application of enzymes as practical biocatalysts is well recognized and also growing. The uses of enzymes have been realized in various fields, and are also being expanded in new fields: fine chemical synthesis, pharmaceuticals, commodity catalysts in food processing and detergent applications, biosensing, bioremediation, polymerase chain reaction, and protein digestion in proteomic analysis. The unique activities and specificities of enzymes play a key role in yielding a wide range of applications. However, the widespread application of enzymes is generally limited by their short lifetimes. As an innovative way of enzyme stabilization, we recently developed a new enzyme composite of nanometer scale that we call “single-enzyme nanoparticles (SENs).” Each enzyme molecule is surrounded with a porous composite organic/inorganic network of less than a few nanometers thick. This approach represents a new type of enzyme-containing nanostructure. In this chapter, we will describe the synthesis, characterization, and catalytic activity of SENs containing α-chymotrypsin (CT).