Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING
JIB
BioConferenceLive

New Process to Create Artificial Cell Membranes Developed

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 17 Oct 2013
Image: Quantitative deposition of lipid monolayers yielded vesicles with fluorescence variance in agreement with model predictions (Photo courtesy of Scripps Research Institute, via Nature Chemistry).
Image: Quantitative deposition of lipid monolayers yielded vesicles with fluorescence variance in agreement with model predictions (Photo courtesy of Scripps Research Institute, via Nature Chemistry).
Scientists have developed a highly programmable and controlled platform for preparing and experimentally studying synthetic cell-like membrane-enclosed structures.

Understanding the myriad biochemical roles of membranes surrounding cells and inside them requires the ability to prepare realistic synthetic versions of these complex multilayered structures, a long-standing challenge. In a study published in the journal Nature Chemistry, online September 29, 2013, scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI; Jupiter, FL, USA) describe an innovative method they have developed for studying cell-like membrane-enclosed vesicles—layer-by-layer phospholipid membrane assembly on microfluidic droplets, a route to structures with defined compositional asymmetry and lamellarity.

Starting with a technique commonly used to deposit molecules on a solid surface, Langmuir-Blodgett deposition, the scientists repurposed the approach to work on liquid objects. They engineered a microfluidic device containing an immobilized array of microscopic cups, each trapping a single droplet of water bathed in oil and lipids. The arrayed trapped droplets are then ready to serve as a foundation for building up a series of lipid layers like coats of paint. “Layer-by-layer membrane assembly allows us to create synthetic cells with membranes of arbitrary complexity at the molecular and supramolecular scale,” said TSRI Assistant Professor Brian Paegel, who authored the study with Research Associate Sandro Matosevic; “We can now control the molecular composition of the inner and outer layers of a bilayer membrane, and even assemble multilayered membranes that resemble the envelope of the cell nucleus.”

The lipid-coated water droplets are first bathed in water. As the water/oil interface encounters the trapped droplets, a second lipid layer coats the droplets and transforms them into unilamellar vesicles. Bathing the vesicles in oil/lipid deposits a third lipid layer, which is followed by deposition of a final layer of lipids. The final product after these three phase exchanges is an immobilized array of double-bilayer vesicles.

“The computer-controlled microfluidic circuits we have constructed will allow us to assemble synthetic cells not only from biologically derived lipids, but from any amphiphile and to measure important chemical and physical parameters, such as permeability and stability,” said Prof. Paegel.

Related Links:
The Scripps Research Institute




comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel
Image: In the liver tissue of obese animals with type II diabetes, unhealthy, fat-filled cells are prolific (small white cells, panel A). After chronic treatment through FGF1 injections, the liver cells successfully lose fat and absorb sugar from the bloodstream (small purple cells, panel B) and more closely resemble cells of normal, non-diabetic animals (Photo courtesy of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies).

Fibroblast Growth Factor 1 Treatment Restores Glucose Control in Mouse Diabetes Model

A "vaccine" based on the metabolic regulator fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1) removed the insulin resistance that characterizes type II diabetes and restored the body's natural ability to manage its glucose... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: Molecular rendering of the crystal structure of parkin (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Cinnamon Feeding Blocks Development of Parkinson's Disease in Mouse Model

A team of neurological researchers has identified a molecular mechanism by which cinnamon acts to protect neurons from damage caused by Parkinson's disease (PD) in a mouse model of the syndrome.... Read more

Therapeutics

view channel
Image: This type of electronic pacemaker could become obsolete if induction of biological pacemaker cells by gene therapy proves successful (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Gene Therapy Induces Functional Pacemaker Cells in Pig Heart Failure Model

Cardiovascular disease researchers working with a porcine heart failure model have demonstrated the practicality of using gene therapy to replace implanted electronic pacemakers to regulate heartbeat.... Read more

Business

view channel

Cancer Immunotherapy Sector Predicted to Surge to USD 9 Billion Across Major Pharma Through 2022

The immunotherapy market will experience substantial growth through 2022, increasing from USD 1.1 billion in 2012 to nearly USD 9 billion in 2022 (corresponding to 23.8% annual growth) in the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Japan, according to recent market research. This notable growth... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.