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Reversible pH-Responsive Coacervate Formation in Lipid Vesicles Activates Dormant Enzymatic Reactions.

Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) (2020-01-17)
Celina Love, Jan Steinkühler, David T Gonzales, Naresh Yandrapalli, Tom Robinson, Rumiana Dimova, T-Y Dora Tang
ABSTRACT

In situ, reversible coacervate formation within lipid vesicles represents a key step in the development of responsive synthetic cellular models. Herein, we exploit the pH responsiveness of a polycation above and below its pKa , to drive liquid-liquid phase separation, to form single coacervate droplets within lipid vesicles. The process is completely reversible as coacervate droplets can be disassembled by increasing the pH above the pKa . We further show that pH-triggered coacervation in the presence of low concentrations of enzymes activates dormant enzyme reactions by increasing the local concentration within the coacervate droplets and changing the local environment around the enzyme. In conclusion, this work establishes a tunable, pH responsive, enzymatically active multi-compartment synthetic cell. The system is readily transferred into microfluidics, making it a robust model for addressing general questions in biology, such as the role of phase separation and its effect on enzymatic reactions using a bottom-up synthetic biology approach.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Avanti
16:0-18:1 PC, 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, powder
Avanti
16:0-18:1 PC, 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, chloroform