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Issue 21, 2010
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Achievements and open questions in the self-reproduction of vesicles and synthetic minimal cells

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Abstract

Supramolecular chemistry was enriched, about twenty years ago, by the discovery of the self-reproduction of micelles and vesicles. The dynamic aspects and complexity of these systems makes them good models for biological compartments. For example, the self-reproduction of vesicles suggests that the growth in size and number of a vesicle population resembles the pattern of living cells in several aspects, but it take place solely due to physical forces. Several reports demonstrate that reverse micelles, micelles, sub-micrometric and giant vesicles can self-reproduce, generating new particles at the expenses of a suitable precursor. Recently, similar studies are in progress on more complex vesicle-based systems, namely semi–synthetic minimal cells. These are artificial cell–like compartments that are built by filling liposomes with the minimal number of biomolecules, such as DNA, ribosomes, enzymes, etc., in order to construct a living cell in the laboratory. This approach aims to investigate the minimal requirements for molecular systems in order to display some living properties, while it finds relevance in origins of life studies and in synthetic (constructive) biology.

Graphical abstract: Achievements and open questions in the self-reproduction of vesicles and synthetic minimal cells

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Publication details

The article was received on 14 Jul 2009, accepted on 02 Mar 2010 and first published on 30 Apr 2010


Article type: Feature Article
DOI: 10.1039/B913997D
Citation: Chem. Commun., 2010,46, 3639-3653
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    Achievements and open questions in the self-reproduction of vesicles and synthetic minimal cells

    P. Stano and P. L. Luisi, Chem. Commun., 2010, 46, 3639
    DOI: 10.1039/B913997D

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