Natural enzymes were selected to function inside the cell, not in the test tube; therefore, their performance is optimized for the crowded conditions encountered in vivo. Most man-made matrices for enzyme confinement lead to suboptimal catalytic activity. Ackerman and colleagues showed that an entrapping environment consisting of functionalized mesoporous silica actually enhances enzyme activity beyond the test-tube levels of free enzymes in solution. These findings provide an approach for dissecting the effect of various contributors to enzyme activity and thereby provide a means for fine-tuning the entrapping matrices to optimize enzyme performance in a rational way.
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