Nanoreactors by programmed enzyme encapsulation inside the capsid of the bacteriophage P22

ACS Nano. 2012 Jun 26;6(6):5000-9. doi: 10.1021/nn300545z. Epub 2012 May 31.


The virus like particle (VLP) derived from bacteriophage P22 presents a unique platform for constructing catalytically functional nanomaterials by encapsulation of enzymes into its interior. Encapsulation has been engineered to be genetically programmed allowing "one pot" synthesis and incorporation of desired enzymes. The unique characteristic that separates P22 from other VLP systems is the ability to modulate the overall volume and porosity of the VLP structure, thus controlling substrate access to the encapsulated enzyme. The present study demonstrates incorporation of an enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase D, with the highest internal loading for an active enzyme by any VLP described thus far. In addition, we show that not only does encapsulating AdhD inside P22 affect its kinetic parameters in comparison with the "free" enzyme, but transformation of P22 to different morphological states, which changes the internal volume of the VLP, yields changes in the overall activity of the encapsulated enzyme as well. The findings reported here clearly illustrate that P22 holds potential for synthetic approaches to create nanoreactors, by design, using the power of highly evolved enzymes for chemical transformations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / biosynthesis*
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Bacteriophage P22 / enzymology*
  • Bacteriophage P22 / genetics*
  • Capsid / enzymology*
  • Materials Testing
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Protein Engineering / methods*


  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase