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Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 3;7:45167. doi: 10.1038/srep45167.

Multi-compartment encapsulation of communicating droplets and droplet networks in hydrogel as a model for artificial cells.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200G, 3001 Leuven, Belgium.
2
Chemistry Research Laboratory, 12 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TA, United Kingdom.
3
Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Biochemistry, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.

Abstract

Constructing a cell mimic is a major challenge posed by synthetic biologists. Efforts to this end have been primarily focused on lipid- and polymer-encapsulated containers, liposomes and polymersomes, respectively. Here, we introduce a multi-compartment, nested system comprising aqueous droplets stabilized in an oil/lipid mixture, all encapsulated in hydrogel. Functional capabilities (electrical and chemical communication) were imparted by protein nanopores spanning the lipid bilayer formed at the interface of the encapsulated aqueous droplets and the encasing hydrogel. Crucially, the compartmentalization enabled the formation of two adjoining lipid bilayers in a controlled manner, a requirement for the realization of a functional protocell or prototissue.

PMID:
28367984
PMCID:
PMC5377250
DOI:
10.1038/srep45167
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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