University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > From vesicles to responsive artificial tissues

From vesicles to responsive artificial tissues

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Lipid vesicles provide the perfect chassis for an artificial cell, enabling compartmentalisation of internal material within a surrounding bilayer membrane. The encapsulation of DNA transcription and translation machinery allows the simplified mimicry of real cells by enabling confined protein expression. Small molecules may pass through the membrane allowing communication between vesicles, while macromolecules remain trapped inside in the absence of pores or cross-membrane transporters.

For most artificial cells the membrane is just a boundary that cordons within the functional components of interest. In real cells, the membrane is a heterogeneous bilayer structure largely composed of lipids, and incorporating membrane proteins which are vital to many cell functions including signalling. The complex interplay between lipid patterning into phase separated domains, and the association of membrane proteins with those domains has been shown to affect signal transduction and receptor functionality. As such, membrane patterning and controlled spatial organisation of membrane-bound cargo is an important feature which should not be overlooked in artificial cells. Here, we work towards generating lipid assemblies with controlled geometrical curvature to drive lipid and protein patterning on the membrane of artificial cells in a pre-defined manner.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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