Biomimetic self-assembly of subcellular structures
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.