With the goal of designing a lysosomal phospholipase mimic, we optimized experimental variables to enhance Ce(IV) -assisted hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine (PC) liposomes. Our best result was obtained with the chelating agent bis-tris propane (BTP). Similar to the hydrolytic enzyme, Ce(IV) -assisted hydrolysis of PC phosphate ester bonds was higher at lysosomal pH (∼4.8) compared to pH 7.2. In the presence of BTP, the average cleavage yield at ∼pH 4.8 and 37 °C was: 67±1 %, 5.7-fold higher than at ∼pH 7.2 and roughly equivalent to the percent of phospholipid found on the metal-accessible exo leaflet of small liposomes. No Ce(IV) precipitation was observed. When BTP was absent, there was significant turbidity, and the amount of cleavage at ∼pH 4.8 (69±1 %) was 2.1-fold higher than the yield obtained at ∼pH 7.2. Our results show that BTP generates homogenous solutions of Ce(IV) that hydrolyze phosphatidylcholine with enhanced selectivity for lysosomal pH.
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