Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Trends Biotechnol. 2018 Sep;36(9):938-951. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2018.03.008. Epub 2018 Apr 21.

Mastering Complexity: Towards Bottom-up Construction of Multifunctional Eukaryotic Synthetic Cells.

Author information

1
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Department of Cellular Biophysics, Jahnstraße 29, D 69120, Heidelberg, Germany; Department of Biophysical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 253, D 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: kerstin.goepfrich@mpimf-heidelberg.mpg.de.
2
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Department of Cellular Biophysics, Jahnstraße 29, D 69120, Heidelberg, Germany; Department of Biophysical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 253, D 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: Ilia.Platzman@mpimf-heidelberg.mpg.de.
3
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Department of Cellular Biophysics, Jahnstraße 29, D 69120, Heidelberg, Germany; Department of Biophysical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 253, D 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: Joachim.Spatz@mpimf-heidelberg.mpg.de.

Abstract

With the ultimate aim to construct a living cell, bottom-up synthetic biology strives to reconstitute cellular phenomena in vitro - disentangled from the complex environment of a cell. Recent work towards this ambitious goal has provided new insights into the mechanisms governing life. With the fast-growing library of functional modules for synthetic cells, their classification and integration become increasingly important. We discuss strategies to reverse-engineer and recombine functional parts for synthetic eukaryotes, mimicking the characteristics of nature's own prototype. Particularly, we focus on large outer compartments, complex endomembrane systems with organelles, and versatile cytoskeletons as hallmarks of eukaryotic life. Moreover, we identify microfluidics and DNA nanotechnology as two technologies that can integrate these functional modules into sophisticated multifunctional synthetic cells.

KEYWORDS:

DNA nanotechnology; bottom-up synthetic biology; compartment; droplet-based microfluidics; giant unilamellar vesicle; synthetic cell

PMID:
29685820
PMCID:
PMC6100601
DOI:
10.1016/j.tibtech.2018.03.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center