On-Cell Catalysis by Surface Engineering of Live Cells with an Artificial Metalloenzyme
Metal-catalyzed chemical transformations performed at the cellular level bear great potential for the manipulation of biological processes. The complexity of the cell renders the use of transition metal chemistry difficult in cellular systems. The delivery of the reactive catalyst and the control of its spatial localization remain challenging. Here we report the surface functionalization of the unicellular eukaryote Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with a tailor-made artificial metalloenzyme for on-cell catalysis. The functionalized cells remain viable and are able to uncage a fluorogenic substrate on their surface. This work leverages cell surface engineering to provide live cells with new-to-nature reactivity. In addition, this operationally simple approach is not genetically encoded and thereby transient, which offers advantages with regard to temporal control, cell viability, and safety. Therefore, and as a feature, the movement of the functionalized cells can be directed by light (via phototaxis), allowing for the three-dimensional localization of catalysts by outside stimuli.