Regulation of spatiotemporal patterning in artificial cells by a defined protein expression system†
Spatiotemporal patterning is a fundamental mechanism for developmental differentiation and homeostasis in living cells. Because spatiotemporal patterns are based on higher-order collective motions of elements synthesized from genes, their behavior dynamically changes according to the element amounts. Thus, to understand life and use this process for material application, creation of artificial cells with time development of spatiotemporal patterning by changes of element levels is necessary. However, realizing coupling between spatiotemporal patterning and synthesis of elements in artificial cells has been particularly challenging. In this study, we established a system that can synthesize a patterning mechanism of the bacterial cell division plane (the so-called Min system) in artificial cells by modifying a defined protein expression system and demonstrated that artificial cells can show time development of spatiotemporal patterning similar to living cells. This system also allows generation and disappearance of spatiotemporal patterning, is controllable by a small molecule in artificial cells, and has the ability for application in cargo transporters. The system developed here provides a new material and a technique for understanding life, development of drug delivery tools, and creation of molecular robots.