Clusterzymes Designed to Modulate Neuroinflammation


A team led by Professor ZHANG Xiaodong from Medical College of Tianjin University has successfully designed a class of artificial enzymes called “clusterzymes”, which are catalytically potent and selective. The clusterzymes have promising potential in modulating neuroinflammatory diseases. Relevant work has recently been published inNature Communications.

Enzyme, an important catalyst in organism, is an organic substance with catalytic effect produced by living cells.Enzyme catalysis can increase the chemical reaction rate more than 100 times under normal temperature and pressure.It not only has great application value in neuroscience, tumor treatment, and biosensor techniques in the field of medicine, but is also widely used in agriculture, food industry, chemical industry and other fields.

However, most of natural enzymes with poor stability demand sophisticated preparation expertise and harsh catalytic conditions, thus difficult to apply on a large scale. The synthesis of artificial enzymes in the laboratory is one of the most interesting and challenging topics for biochemists. Emerging artificial enzymes with reprogrammed and augmented catalytic activity and substrate selectivity have long been pursued with sustained efforts.

Prof. Zhang’s team proposed the concept of “Clusterzymes”. They are a kind of artificial enzyme with precise atomic structure designed through single-atom regulation. The laboratory results show that clusterzymes hold high catalytic activity and selectivity. Their antioxidant activity is 160 times higher than that of natural water-soluble vitamin E, and 9 times higher than that of anthocyanins.

Biological results show that the use of clusterzymes can effectively reduce the neuroinflammation of brain-injured mice, and significantly reduce the inflammatory factors of the ill mice.In particular, clusterzymes are so small that they can be removed naturally by the kidney, thus avoiding side effect damages to liver, kidney and other organs.

“The clusterzymes exhibit a broad application prospect in biomedicine, especially in the field of neuroscience and engineering. In future, we will further improve clusterzymes’ variability, enhance its targeting function, and explore its therapeutic potential for modulating and curing severe brain injuries and other major neuroinflammation.” Prof. Zhang Xiaodong noted.

By Sun Fei

Editor: Eva Yin