Motility of Enzyme-Powered Vesicles

Subhadip Ghosh, Farzad Mohajerani, Seoyoung Son, Darrell Velegol, Peter J. Butler, Ayusman Sen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Autonomous nanovehicles powered by energy derived from chemical catalysis have potential applications as active delivery agents. For in vivo applications, it is necessary that the engine and its fuel, as well as the chassis itself, be biocompatible. Enzyme molecules have been shown to display enhanced motility through substrate turnover and are attractive candidates as engines; phospholipid vesicles are biocompatible and can serve as cargo containers. Herein, we describe the autonomous movement of vesicles with membrane-bound enzymes in the presence of the substrate. We find that the motility of the vesicles increases with increasing enzymatic turnover rate. The enhanced diffusion of these enzyme-powered systems was further substantiated in real time by tracking the motion of the vesicles using optical microscopy. The membrane-bound protocells that move by transducing chemical energy into mechanical motion serve as models for motile living cells and are key to the elucidation of the fundamental mechanisms governing active membrane dynamics and cellular movement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6019-6026
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 11 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Motility of Enzyme-Powered Vesicles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this