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: Blocking the activity of HSP101 may imprison the malaria parasite inside its protective vacuole within the red blood cell. In the electron micrograph, the malaria parasites appear in blue and uninfected red blood cells are shown in red (Photo courtesy of the [US] National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).

Heat Shock Protein Plays Critical Role in Malaria Parasite Protein Trafficking

A pair of recent papers described the molecular operators that enable the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum to export a large variety of proteins across the parasitophorous vacuolar membrane (PVM)... 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

Vaccine Being Developed for Heart Disease Close to Reality

The world’s first vaccine for heart disease is becoming a possibility with researchers demonstrating significant arterial plaque reduction in concept testing in mice. Klaus Ley, MD, from the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology (LA Jolla, CA, USA), and a vascular immunology specialist, is leading the vaccine... Read more

Business

view channel

A Surge in IPOs Revitalize Investments for the Global Pharma and Biotech

Anti-infective drugs, oncology, and pharmaceutical contract laboratories attract the most investment up to now. The intensified private equity and venture capital (PEVC) deal activity in the global healthcare industry during the recession years, 2008–2010, witnessed a waning post-2010. However, the decline in deals... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.