Des cellules

The complex microscopic structures previously developed generally fulfilled one function only, which made their applications limited. But a recent study chaired by scientists from Bristol University in the United Kingdom has led to the creation of complex cells capable of perform more elaborate functions.

The new method relies on two microorganisms and other biological components to form assemblies able to structurally reorganize. These microorganisms are able to behave like amoebas from the point of view of their activities and their architectural complexity.

In the near future, it would be possible to revolutionize many fields thanks to this discovery. The results of the study appear in the journal Nature. Can xu, a research associate at the University of Bristol, is the lead author of the research.

Being able to destroy and reassemble cells is a huge advancement

To attribute the regenerative properties to their artificial cells, the researchers used two bacterial colonies: Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They were then mixed in a viscous liquid containing melittin (a polypeptide from bee venom). Shortly after, the bacteria spilled their contents and created membrane-covered protocells.

Tests to confirm the activity of the cells confirm that they are capable of complex processes like ATP energy production by glycolysisas well as transcription of genes. In addition, the new discovery will also enable the development of elaborate modules in therapeutic diagnostics as well as in the biomanufacturing and biotechnology in general.

Another possible application, in the industrial field, would be the ethanol production and food processing. Moreover, thanks to the assembly capacities of these microorganisms, it would be possible to match certain structures while completely rethinking others, to design completely new systems.

“We expect the methodology to meet high levels of programmability. »


A hypercomplex scientific process

The artificial cell that has been developed is able to mutate from a simple spherical shape to a dynamic amoeba-like architecture in just 2 days. This feature has earned the cell the title of “structurally dynamic microorganism”.

The scientists point out that obtaining this result depends countless biochemical operations involving incredibly complex machines to grow and reproduce. Following the first promising results, they wanted to create microorganisms capable of fulfilling several functions such as gene expression, enzymatic catalysis or ribozyme activity.


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