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Issue 60, 2020
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Biomimetic self-assembly of subcellular structures

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If there is a secret recipe that enables living cells to build themselves from individual molecules, it is likely to be hierarchical self-organization. Here, we summarize recent progress in synthetic self-assembly analogous to subcellular structures, including flattened sacs, crystalline membranes, reconfigurable coacervate droplets, semiflexible filaments, and asters. Simplicity is the key of these synthetic systems—they can reproduce the architecture and, sometimes, functions of seemingly complicated biological systems with surprisingly minimal constituents, underlying the overwhelming importance of fundamental physicochemical mechanisms over specific molecular details. Beyond molecular self-assembly on a microscale, we expect integration of the assembled structures to function in unison and synergy as the next step towards cell imitation.

Graphical abstract: Biomimetic self-assembly of subcellular structures

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Article information

22 Feb 2020
16 Apr 2020
First published
17 Apr 2020

Chem. Commun., 2020,56, 8342-8354
Article type
Feature Article

Biomimetic self-assembly of subcellular structures

S. Yang and L. Jiang, Chem. Commun., 2020, 56, 8342
DOI: 10.1039/D0CC01395A

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