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Creating complex protocells and prototissues using simple DNA building blocks

Arulkumaran, Nishkantha; Singer, Mervyn; Howorka, Stefan; Burns, Jonathan R; (2023) Creating complex protocells and prototissues using simple DNA building blocks. Nature Communications , 14 , Article 1314. 10.1038/s41467-023-36875-5. Green open access

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Abstract

Building synthetic protocells and prototissues hinges on the formation of biomimetic skeletal frameworks. Recreating the complexity of cytoskeletal and exoskeletal fibers, with their widely varying dimensions, cellular locations and functions, represents a major material hurdle and intellectual challenge which is compounded by the additional demand of using simple building blocks to ease fabrication and control. Here we harness simplicity to create complexity by assembling structural frameworks from subunits that can support membrane-based protocells and prototissues. We show that five oligonucleotides can anneal into nanotubes or fibers whose tunable thicknesses and lengths spans four orders of magnitude. We demonstrate that the assemblies' location inside protocells is controllable to enhance their mechanical, functional and osmolar stability. Furthermore, the macrostructures can coat the outside of protocells to mimic exoskeletons and support the formation of millimeter-scale prototissues. Our strategy could be exploited in the bottom-up design of synthetic cells and tissues, to the generation of smart material devices in medicine.

Type: Article
Title: Creating complex protocells and prototissues using simple DNA building blocks
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-36875-5
Publisher version: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-36875-5...
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Chemistry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Experimental and Translational Medicine
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10167112
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