Chemical communication between liposomes encapsulating a chemical oscillatory reaction†
Long-range chemical communication takes place over micrometer distance within different biological organisms and biomimetic chemical micro-compartments). A proper model for studying this phenomenon could rely on three features, namely (i) the compartmentalization of chemical information (using microfluidics), (ii) a stable emitter of periodic chemical signals inside compartments (Belousov–Zhabotinsky oscillating reaction) and (iii) a suitable spatio-temporal monitoring of the emitted chemical signal. In this paper we study chemical transmission across the interface between two immiscible liquids, eventually in the presence of lipid, by local electrochemical probing. We show that chemical information is transmitted either by direct transfer of redox active species and or by interfacial electron transfer. Insights obtained by electrochemical measurements, together with numerical simulations, are then used to transpose the communication across a phospholipid bilayer among oscillators compartmentalized in liposomes and dispersed in a water medium. The procedure for the successful generation of these cell-like compartments through microfluidics is reported here for the first time.