German scientists create artificial cell model is minimized

Recently, Technical University of Munich, Germany (TUM) bio-physicist Andreas? Bao Shi and his research team used a small number of material success has created a minimal cell model.


Beijing time on September 5, according to Science Daily reported recently that the German Technical University of Munich (TUM) bio-physicist Andreas? Bao Shi (Andreas Bausc) and his research team used a small number of raw materials to create a successful minimization cell model, which can change its shape and is self-moved. Their study was published in the journal “Science”, is also listed as the cover story of this period.

Cells are very complex objects, it has proven metabolic system. Their evolutionary ancestors original cell only by the cell membrane and a few molecules, but this is by far the smallest full-featured system.

Therefore, the “return to the cell of origin” has become the motto of the research team and international collaborators led by Professor Bao Shi, Professor Bao Shi nanotechnology research system or Munich (NIM) team members. Their dream is to use a small number of the most basic raw material to create a simple cell model with specific functions. From this point of view that they follow the principles of synthetic biology, that a single cell building blocks are assembled to form artificial biological systems with new features.

The ultimate goal is to create a biophysicist with a biomechanical model of a function similar cells. It should move and change their shape under the premise of no outside influence. In the article, the scientists explained how they accomplish this goal.

The model contains a biophysicist membrane shell, two different biological molecules, and certain fuels. The envelope, also known as capsule, the composition of the lipid bilayer is similar to the membrane of a natural. Scientists in the sac filled kinesin molecules and microtubules, which are tubular scaffold composition of a cell. Cell function in kinesin molecular motor that can accompany the transmission cell microtubules together the basic building unit. In the experiment, these motors will permanently push each other tubules. Therefore, kinesin requires energy carrier ATP, which is the basis of the set has been included in the experiment.

From a physical point of view, microtubules in the cell membrane to form a two-dimensional liquid crystal cell in a permanent state of motion. “You can imagine the liquid crystal layer is similar logs floating on the lake.” Study lead author Felix? Kerber (Felix Keber) explained. “When it gets crowded, but they will still be able to be arranged in parallel drifting.”

Artificial cell tectonic deformation plays a decisive role is – even in a resting state – LCD must also contain faults. Mathematicians use Poincaré-Hopf theorem to explain this phenomenon, which is also known as the “hairball problem.” Just as when a person does not make a bottle of hair can not comb the hair flat ball, the total number of microtubules in the form of rules can not be lying on the cell surface. In certain positions of these tubules may be perpendicular to each other – it exhibits a specific geometric patterns. Since the Munich researchers experiment because kinesin molecule microtubule activity and in constant motion in each fault moves. Surprisingly, this movable to very uniform and periodic manner, the oscillation of the two fixed direction.

As long as the bag has a spherical shape, the fault of the external shape of the membrane will not have an impact. However, once the loss of water because of osmosis, the bag because the movement began to change shape within the cell membrane. With the loss of more water in the capsule, the membrane will form a sharp loose extension thereof, which is similar to the movement of a single cell used.

In this process, scientists have discovered a series of different shapes and dynamic. Initially looks very random phenomenon actually followed the laws of physics. How successful international team of scientists this series Secret fundamental principles, such as the periodic behavior of the capsule. These principles as the basis for further prediction of other systems.

“With our synthetic bio-molecular model, we created a new selection of R & D simulation cell model.” Bao Shi explained. “It is very suitable in a modular fashion so as to increase the complexity of the recycling of cellular processes such as cell migration or in a controlled manner for cell separation. These artificial systems can be fully described in detail from the physics point of view brought us new hope In the following we will be able to uncover the basic principles behind the multiple cell deformability. “

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