In DepthSynthetic Biology

Artificial cells gain communication skills

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Science  23 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6417, pp. 877
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6417.877

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Researchers have created artificial cells that may be the most eukaryotelike cell mimics yet developed. Like the real things, they can exchange protein signals and have an interactive nucleus that responds to other cells. The membrane of the synthetic cells is porous polymerized acrylate, and their gel nucleus contains DNA. When researchers add ribosomes and other necessary materials, the synthetic cells begin to produce fluorescent proteins and send these signals to their neighbors. Researchers demonstrated that these cell mimics can also communicate by using other proteins and show a collective response called quorum sensing, in which cells' behavior changes depending on their density.