All-in-One Photoactivated Inhibition of Butyrylcholinesterase Combined with Luminescence as an Activation and Localization Indicator: Carbon Quantum Dots@Phosphonate Hybrids
Photopharmacology is a booming research area requiring a new generation of agents possessing simultaneous functions of photoswitching and pharmacophore. It is important that any practical implementation of photopharmacology ideally requires spatial control of the medicinal treatment zone. Thus, advances in the study of substances meeting all the listed requirements will lead to breakthrough research in the coming years. In this study, CQDs@phosphonate nanohybrids are presented for the first time and combine biocompatible and nontoxic luminescent carbon quantum dots (CQDs) with photoactive phosphonate enabling inhibition of butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), which is a prognostic marker of numerous diseases. The conjunction of these components in hybrids maintains photoswitching and provides enhancement of BChE inhibition. After laser irradiation with a wavelength of 266 nm, CQDs@phosphonate hybrids demonstrate a drastic increase of butyrylcholinesterase inhibition from 38% up to almost 100% and a simultaneous luminescence decrease. All the listed hybrid properties are demonstrated not only for in vitro experiments but also for complex biological samples, i.e., chicken breast. Thus, the most important achievement is the demonstration of hybrids characterized by a remarkable combination of all-in-one properties important for photopharmacology: (i) bioactivity toward butyrylcholinesterase inhibition, (ii) strong change of inhibition degree as a result of laser irradiation, luminescence as an indicator of (iii) bioactivity state, and of (iv) spatial localization on the surface of a sample.