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Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 - 10:22:56 PM
Biotechnology Channel

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Latest Research : Biotechnology

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Dynamic, Artificial Cells and Vesicles

Mar 30, 2005 - 6:45:00 AM
Using a previously developed method, the authors constructed artificial cells by encapsulating a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)/dextran aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) within a giant lipid vesicle. The researchers tagged each macromolecule, PEG, dextran, and lipid, with an individual fluorescent marker to monitor transitions by confocal microscopy.

 
[RxPG] Scott Long et al. have constructed synthetic cells comprised of lipid bilayer membranes surrounding a two-phase, aqueous polymer solution that can be reversibly converted to a single phase. An understanding of compartmentalization in cell function has been hampered by the lack of an experimental model system.

Using a previously developed method, the authors constructed artificial cells by encapsulating a poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)/dextran aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) within a giant lipid vesicle. The researchers tagged each macromolecule, PEG, dextran, and lipid, with an individual fluorescent marker to monitor transitions by confocal microscopy.

The two encapsulated phases were found to contain different polymer concentrations, and the authors were able to create microcompartments within the synthetic cells by introducing molecules with varying affinities for PEG or dextran. Fluorescently tagged streptavidin accumulated preferentially in the PEG-rich phase of a vesicle containing biotinylated PEG, whereas SBA, a carbohydrate-binding lectin, partitioned into the dextran-rich phase of the vesicles.

Through osmotically driven dehydration, Long et al. were able to partition single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides into the dextran-rich phase of an ATPS-containing vesicle.



Publication: "Dynamic microcompartmentation in synthetic cells" by M. Scott Long, Clinton D. Jones, Marcus R. Helfrich, Lauren K. Mangeney-Slavin, and Christine D. Keating
On the web: Read the full text of this article 

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 Additional information about the news article
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

PNAS is one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials. Since its establishment in 1914, it continues to publish cutting-edge research reports, commentaries, reviews, perspectives, colloquium papers, and actions of the Academy. Coverage in PNAS spans the biological, physical, and social sciences. PNAS is published weekly in print, and daily online in PNAS Early Edition. The PNAS impact factor is 10.3 for 2003. PNAS is available by subscription.

PNAS is abstracted and/or indexed in: Index Medicus, PubMed Central, Current Contents, Medline, SPIN, JSTOR, ISI Web of Science, and BIOSIS.

Please note that the articles in PNAS report original research by independent authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Academy of Sciences or the National Research Council.
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