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Programmable on-chip DNA compartments as artificial cells

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Science  15 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6198, pp. 829-832
DOI: 10.1126/science.1255550

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Toward an “artificial cell” on a chip

Cell-free systems that reconstitute biochemical pathways have been critical for unraveling the inner workings of the cell. Karzbrun et al. created a highly miniaturized cell-free system on a silicon chip. A series of tiny linked compartments were fabricated on the chip, in which DNA-driven reactions occurred, with materials flowing into and diffusing between the compartments. The system recreated oscillating protein expression patterns and protein gradients, and provides a stepping stone to creating “artificial cells” on a chip.

Science, this issue p. 829