Biomimetic enzyme nanocomplexes and their use as antidotes and preventive measures for alcohol intoxication

Nat Nanotechnol. 2013 Mar;8(3):187-92. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2012.264. Epub 2013 Feb 17.


Organisms have sophisticated subcellular compartments containing enzymes that function in tandem. These confined compartments ensure effective chemical transformation and transport of molecules, and the elimination of toxic metabolic wastes. Creating functional enzyme complexes that are confined in a similar way remains challenging. Here we show that two or more enzymes with complementary functions can be assembled and encapsulated within a thin polymer shell to form enzyme nanocomplexes. These nanocomplexes exhibit improved catalytic efficiency and enhanced stability when compared with free enzymes. Furthermore, the co-localized enzymes display complementary functions, whereby toxic intermediates generated by one enzyme can be promptly eliminated by another enzyme. We show that nanocomplexes containing alcohol oxidase and catalase could reduce blood alcohol levels in intoxicated mice, offering an alternative antidote and prophylactic for alcohol intoxication.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / chemistry
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / drug therapy*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / pathology
  • Alcohols / administration & dosage
  • Alcohols / blood
  • Animals
  • Antidotes / administration & dosage*
  • Biomimetics*
  • Catalase / chemistry
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry*
  • Mice


  • Alcohols
  • Antidotes
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • alcohol oxidase
  • Catalase