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Communication and quorum sensing in non-living mimics of eukaryotic cells.

Nature communications (2018-11-30)
Henrike Niederholtmeyer, Cynthia Chaggan, Neal K Devaraj
ABSTRACT

Cells in tissues or biofilms communicate with one another through chemical and mechanical signals to coordinate collective behaviors. Non-living cell mimics provide simplified models of natural systems; however, it has remained challenging to implement communication capabilities comparable to living cells. Here we present a porous artificial cell-mimic containing a nucleus-like DNA-hydrogel compartment that is able to express and display proteins, and communicate with neighboring cell-mimics through diffusive protein signals. We show that communication between cell-mimics allows distribution of tasks, quorum sensing, and cellular differentiation according to local environment. Cell-mimics can be manufactured in large quantities, easily stored, chemically modified, and spatially organized into diffusively connected tissue-like arrangements, offering a means for studying communication in large ensembles of artificial cells.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
2,2-Dimethoxy-2-phenylacetophenone, 99%
Sigma-Aldrich
Magnesium acetate solution, BioUltra, for molecular biology, ~1 M in H2O

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