Stable Enzymatic Nanoparticles from Nucleases, Proteases, Lipase and Antioxidant Proteins with Substrate-Binding and Catalytic Properties

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Feb 3;24(3):3043. doi: 10.3390/ijms24033043.


Limited membrane permeability and biodegradation hamper the intracellular delivery of the free natural or recombinant enzymes necessary for compensatory therapy. Nanoparticles (NP) provide relative protein stability and unspecific endocytosis-mediated cellular uptake. Our objective was the fabrication of NP from 7 biomedicine-relevant enzymes, including DNase I, RNase A, trypsin, chymotrypsin, catalase, horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and lipase, the analysis of their conformation stability and enzymatic activity as well as possible toxicity for eukaryotic cells. The enzymes were dissolved in fluoroalcohol and mixed with 40% ethanol as an anti-solvent with subsequent alcohol evaporation at high temperature and low pressure. The shapes and sizes of NP were determined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS). Enzyme conformations in solutions and in NP were compared using circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. The activity of the enzymes was assayed with specific substrates. The cytotoxicity of the enzymatic NP (ENP) was studied by microscopic observations and by using an MTT test. Water-insoluble ENP of different shapes and sizes in a range 50-300 nm consisting of 7 enzymes remained stable for 1 year at +4 °C without any cross-linking. CD spectroscopy of the ENP permitted us to reveal changes in proportions of α-helixes, β-turns and random coils in comparison with fresh enzyme solutions in water. Despite the minor conformation changes of the proteins in the ENP, the enzymes retained their substrate-binding and catalytic properties. Among the studied bioactive ENP, only DNase NP were highly toxic for 3 cell lines with granulation in 1 day posttreatment, whereas other NP were less toxic (if any). Taken together, the enzymes in the stable ENP retained their catalytic activity and might be used for intracellular delivery.

Keywords: DNase I; RNase A; broad size ranges; catalase; chymotrypsin; enzymatic nanoparticles; horseradish peroxidase; lipase; low cytotoxicity of bioactive enzymatic nanoparticles; nanoprecipitation of proteins; stability of the enzymes and aggregation of nanoparticles during storage; trypsin.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Biocatalysis
  • Endopeptidases
  • Horseradish Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Lipase
  • Nanoparticles* / chemistry
  • Peptide Hydrolases*
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Antioxidants
  • Endopeptidases
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Lipase
  • Peptide Hydrolases