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†Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering,‡Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, §Department of Chemistry, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Department of Physics and Astronomy, #Department of Bioengineering,Laboratory for Nanophotonics and the Rice Quantum Institute, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77005-1892, United States
The use of plasmonic nanoparticle complexes for biomedical applications such as imaging, gene therapy, and cancer treatment is a rapidly emerging field expected to significantly improve conventional medical practices. In contrast, the use of these types of nanoparticles to noninvasively trigger biochemical pathways has been largely unexplored. Here we report the light-induced activation of the thermophilic enzyme Aeropyrum pernix glucokinase, a key enzyme for the decomposition of glucose via the glycolysis pathway, increasing its rate of reaction 60% with light by conjugating the enzyme onto Au nanorods. The observed increase in enzyme activity corresponded to a local temperature increase within a calcium alginate encapsulate of 20 °C when compared to the bulk medium maintained at standard, nonthermophilic temperatures. The encapsulated nanocomplexes were reusable and stable for several days, making them potentially useful in industrial applications. This approach could significantly improve how biochemical pathways are controlled for in vitro and, quite possibly, in vivo use.