Machine-assisted Discovery of Polymer-enzyme Complexes for Sustained Neural Regeneration

Among the many molecules that contribute to glial scarring, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are known to be potent inhibitors of neuronal regeneration. Chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) degrades the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) side chains of CSPGs and promotes tissue regeneration. However, ChABC is thermally unstable and loses all activity within a few hours at 37 °C. To overcome this limitation, the discovery of a diverse set of tailor-made random copolymers that complex and stabilize ChABC at physiological temperature is reported. The copolymer designs are identified using an active machine learning paradigm, which involves iterative copolymer synthesis, testing for ChABC thermostability upon copolymer complexation, Gaussian process regression modeling, and Bayesian optimization. Copolymers are synthesized by automated PET-RAFT. Remarkably, one designed copolymer promotes residual ChABC activity near 30%, even after one week and notably outperforms other common stabilization methods for ChABC. Together, these results highlight a promising pathway toward sustained tissue regeneration.

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