Within the small volume of a single cell, reagents come together in a confined space through highly evolved chemical recognition events. The way that nature controls chemical reactivity within a cell is what any organic chemist could dream of: multiple reactions that can be specifically controlled in complex mixtures without any cross-reactivity .
Inspired by this, a group of researchers from the University of Rome has published a study in Nature in which the use of antibodies to control chemical reactions is demonstrated.
The study has thus demonstrated the possibility of using bivalent biomolecules (that is, IgG antibodies) to induce the proximity between reagents and thus control their chemical reactivity.
For the first time, therefore, the possibility of controlling reactions with antibodies is opened, which allows the formation of reaction products to be controlled, and that these are generated only in the presence of specific antibodies.
These reaction products can be designed to be functional molecules, with therapeutic use, for example.
In this particular study, the formation of an anticoagulant agent is demonstrated through the reaction induced by the presence of the specific antibody. We see how only in the presence of the antibody in question , the anticoagulant agent is formed and then inhibits the activity of thrombin (a key enzyme in blood clotting).
The strategy is very versatile, which allows it to be applied to any type of reaction (that is, to generate a great variety of products) and to be designed for any type of IgG antibody.
IgG antibodies are notable biomarkers; they are the signals that provide us with indications about many diseases and how our immune system counteracts them . The potential ability of IgG antibodies to control chemical reactions would allow the formation of different molecules, ranging from imaging to therapeutic agents, only when a specific diagnostic IgG antibody is present in our body. It is thus predicted that this strategy could find applications in diagnosis and therapy.