Click For Photo: https://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2019/01/190117142156_1_540x360.jpg
Scientists around the world are working on creating artificial, cell-like systems that mimic the behavior of living organisms. Friedrich Simmel and Aurore Dupin have now for the first time created such artificial cell assemblies in a fixed spatial arrangement. The highlight is that the cells are able to communicate with each other.
"Our system is a first step towards tissue-like, synthetic biological materials that exhibit complex spatial and temporal behavior in which individual cells specialize and differentiate themselves, not unlike biological organisms," explains Friedrich Simmel, Professor of Physics of Synthetic Biosystems (E14) at TU Munich.
Gels - Emulsion - Droplets - Fat - Polymer
Gels or emulsion droplets encapsulated in thin fat or polymer membranes serve as the basic building blocks for the artificial cells. Inside these 10 to 100 micron sized units, chemical and biochemical reactions can proceed uninhibited.
The research team used droplets enclosed by lipid membranes and assembled them into artificial multicellular structures called "micro-tissues." The biochemical reaction solutions used in the droplets can produce RNA and proteins, giving the cells a of a kind of gene expression ability.
Small - Molecules - Cells - Membranes - Protein
But that's not all: Small "signal molecules" can be exchanged between cells via their membranes or protein channels built into the membranes. This allows them to temporally and spatially couple with each other. The systems thus become dynamic -- as in real life.
Chemical pulses thus propagate through the cell structures and pass on information. The signals can also act as triggers, allowing initially identical cells to develop...
Wake Up To Breaking News!