Document Detail

Development of an artificial cell, from self-organization to computation and self-reproduction.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21317359     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This article describes the state and the development of an artificial cell project. We discuss the experimental constraints to synthesize the most elementary cell-sized compartment that can self-reproduce using synthetic genetic information. The original idea was to program a phospholipid vesicle with DNA. Based on this idea, it was shown that in vitro gene expression could be carried out inside cell-sized synthetic vesicles. It was also shown that a couple of genes could be expressed for a few days inside the vesicles once the exchanges of nutrients with the outside environment were adequately introduced. The development of a cell-free transcription/translation toolbox allows the expression of a large number of genes with multiple transcription factors. As a result, the development of a synthetic DNA program is becoming one of the main hurdles. We discuss the various possibilities to enrich and to replicate this program. Defining a program for self-reproduction remains a difficult question as nongenetic processes, such as molecular self-organization, play an essential and complementary role. The synthesis of a stable compartment with an active interface, one of the critical bottlenecks in the synthesis of artificial cell, depends on the properties of phospholipid membranes. The problem of a self-replicating artificial cell is a long-lasting goal that might imply evolution experiments.
Vincent Noireaux; Yusuke T Maeda; Albert Libchaber
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2011-02-11
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  108     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-03-03     Completed Date:  2011-05-09     Revised Date:  2013-06-30    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3473-80     Citation Subset:  IM    
University of Minnesota, 116 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Artificial Cells / cytology*,  metabolism
Cell Division*
Computational Biology*
Cytoplasmic Vesicles / metabolism
Phospholipids / metabolism
Reg. No./Substance:

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