An artificial metalloenzyme for catalytic cancer-specific DNA cleavage and operando imaging

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Science Advances  15 Jul 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 29, eabb1421
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb1421


Metalloenzymes are promising anticancer candidates to overcome chemoresistance by involving unique mechanisms. To date, it is still a great challenge to obtain synthetic metalloenzymes with persistent catalytic performance for cancer-specific DNA cleavage and operando imaging. Here, an artificial metalloenzyme, copper cluster firmly anchored in bovine serum albumin conjugated with tumor-targeting peptide, is exquisitely constructed. It is capable of persistently transforming hydrogen peroxide in tumor microenvironment to hydroxyl radical and oxygen in a catalytic manner. The stable catalysis recycling stems from the electron transfer between copper cluster and substrate with well-matched energy levels. Notably, their high biocompatibility, tumor-specific recognition, and persistent catalytic performance ensure the substantial anticancer efficacy by triggering DNA damage. Meanwhile, by coupling with enzyme-like reactions, the operando therapy effect is expediently traced by chemiluminescence signal with high sensitivity and sustainability. It provides new insights into synthesizing biocompatible metalloenzymes on demand to visually monitor and efficiently combat specific cancers.

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