Cell biology Intelligent Design

At SciTech Daily: Artificial Cells With Lifelike Functionality – New Breakthrough Brings Scientists One Step Closer

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Researchers have used bacteria to help develop advanced synthetic cells that imitate the real-life functionality of cells.

The study, conducted by the University of Bristol and published in the journal Nature, advances the development of synthetic cells, or protocells, to more precisely replicate the complex composition, structure, and function of living cells.

Establishing true-to-life functionality in protocells is a global great challenge involving several fields, from the origin of life research to bottom-up synthetic biology and bioengineering. Due to previous failures in modeling protocells using microcapsules, the research team turned to bacteria to construct sophisticated synthetic cells utilizing a living material assembly process.

Professor Stephen Mann from the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol and the Max Planck Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology, and colleagues Drs. Can Xu, Nicolas Martin (now at the University of Bordeaux), and Mei Li from the Bristol Centre for Protolife Research have demonstrated a method for building highly complex protocells using viscous micro-droplets filled with living bacteria as a microscopic building site.

The group initially exposed the empty droplets to two different types of bacteria. One population was captured spontaneously inside the droplets, while the other was confined at the droplet surface.

Establishing true-to-life functionality in protocells is a global great challenge involving several fields, from the origin of life research to bottom-up synthetic biology and bioengineering. Due to previous failures in modeling protocells using microcapsules, the research team turned to bacteria to construct sophisticated synthetic cells utilizing a living material assembly process.

Professor Stephen Mann from the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol and the Max Planck Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology, and colleagues Drs. Can Xu, Nicolas Martin (now at the University of Bordeaux), and Mei Li from the Bristol Centre for Protolife Research have demonstrated a method for building highly complex protocells using viscous micro-droplets filled with living bacteria as a microscopic building site.

The group initially exposed the empty droplets to two different types of bacteria. One population was captured spontaneously inside the droplets, while the other was confined at the droplet surface.

Corresponding author Professor Stephen Mann said: “Achieving high organizational and functional complexity in synthetic cells is difficult, especially under close-to-equilibrium conditions. Hopefully, our current bacteriogenic approach will help to increase the complexity of current protocell models, facilitate the integration of myriad biological components and enable the development of energized cytomimetic systems.”

First author Dr. Can Xu, a Research Associate at the University of Bristol, added: “Our living-material assembly approach provides an opportunity for the bottom-up construction of symbiotic living/synthetic cell constructs. For example, using engineered bacteria it should be possible to fabricate complex modules for development in diagnostic and therapeutic areas of synthetic biology as well as in biomanufacturing and biotechnology in general.”

SciTech Daily

It seems that the very best efforts of researchers to build a model of a cell from scratch involve insurmountable difficulties, so researchers have resorted to using a “living-material assembly approach”, confirming the biology adage: “Life comes from life.”

4 Replies to “At SciTech Daily: Artificial Cells With Lifelike Functionality – New Breakthrough Brings Scientists One Step Closer

  1. 1
    relatd says:

    They need to make money from biomanufacturing. This is of primary interest to companies producing pharmaceuticals. A portion of an Executive Order issued by the White House in September of this year.

    “Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of my Administration to coordinate a whole-of-government approach to advance biotechnology and biomanufacturing towards innovative solutions in health, climate change, energy, food security, agriculture, supply chain resilience, and national and economic security. Central to this policy and its outcomes are principles of equity, ethics, safety, and security that enable access to technologies, processes, and products in a manner that benefits all Americans and the global community and that maintains United States technological leadership and economic competitiveness.”

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  3. 3
    es58 says:

    They need bioengineering to make these but the “real” ones just “happened”. There’s not enough gas in the universe to do this much gaslighting.

  4. 4
    kairosfocus says:

    Ah well, they at least show the relevance of intelligent design to origin of biological, cell based life.

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