Artificial cells react to environmental changes

phys.org | 1/9/2020 | Staff
magiccastlemagiccastle (Posted by) Level 4
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Synthetic cells with compartments. Magenta shows the lipid membrane, cyan shows the fluorescently tagged membrane-free sub-compartments. Credit: MPI-CBG/ Love et al.

Cells are the basic unit of life. They provide an environment for the fundamental molecules of life to interact, for reactions to take place and sustain life. However, the biological cell is very complicated, making it difficult to understand what takes place inside it. One way to tackle this biological problem is to design a synthetic minimal cell as a simpler system compared to biological cells. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden and the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam accomplished such an engineering challenge by building a synthetic cell that can encapsulate fundamental biochemical reactions. They also show that such a minimal system can respond to changes in environment.

Cells - Building - Blocks - Life - Environment

Cells make up the basic building blocks of life. They provide a distinct and dynamic environment for the organization of molecules and reactions that are needed to sustain life. Inside the cell there are countless molecules including DNA, proteins, sugars, and fats (lipids) that need to come together in different ways. To understand, how cells organize all these components to function in a complex environment, scientists have been building synthetic cells with fewer components to engineer simple systems that mimic certain cellular processes. This research field of synthetic biology combines engineering and biology and focuses on taking parts of the natural biological system and simplifying it.

Despite much progresses in the synthetic biology field, building dynamic systems is still very difficult. The research team,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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