Theranostics 2012; 2(2):139-147. doi:10.7150/thno.3696


Enzymatic Self-Assembly of Nanostructures for Theranostics

Yue Chen, Gaolin Liang

CAS Key Laboratory of Soft Matter Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, 96 Jinzhai Road, Hefei, Anhui 230026, China

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Chen Y, Liang G. Enzymatic Self-Assembly of Nanostructures for Theranostics. Theranostics 2012; 2(2):139-147. doi:10.7150/thno.3696. Available from

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Self-assembly of small molecules or macromolecules through non-covalent or covalent bonds to build up supramolecular nanostructures is a prevalent and important process in nature. While most chemists use small molecules to assemble nanostructures with physical or chemical perturbations, nature adopts enzymes to catalyze the reaction to assemble biological, functional nanostructures with high efficiency and specificity. Although enzymatic self-assembly of nanostructures has been remained challenging for chemists, there are still a few examples of using important enzymes to initiate the self-assembly of nanostructures for diagnosis or therapy of certain diseases because down-regulation or overexpression of certain enzymes always associates with abnormalities of tissues/organs or diseases in living body. Herein, we introduce the concept of enzymatic self-assembly and illustrate the design and application of enzyme-catalyzed or -regulated formation of nanostructures for theranostics.

Keywords: Enzyme, Self-assembly, Nanostructures, Diagnosis, Therapy, Theranostics.