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Physical Routes to Primitive Cells: An Experimental Model Based on the Spontaneous Entrapment of Enzymes inside Micrometer-Sized Liposomes.

D'Aguanno E, Altamura E, Mavelli F, Fahr A, Stano P, Luisi PL - Life (Basel) (2015)

Bottom Line: We have reported that proteins and ribosomes can be encapsulated very efficiently, against statistical expectations, inside a small number of liposomes.Moreover the transcription-translation mixture, which realistically mimics a sort of minimal metabolic network, can be functionally reconstituted in liposomes owing to a self-concentration mechanism.Here we firstly summarize the recent advancements in this research line, highlighting how these results open a new vista on the phenomena that could have been important for the formation of functional primitive cells.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Science Department, Roma Tre University, Viale G. Marconi 446, I-00146 Rome, Italy. Alfred.Fahr@uni-jena.de.

ABSTRACT
How did primitive living cells originate? The formation of early cells, which were probably solute-filled vesicles capable of performing a rudimentary metabolism (and possibly self-reproduction), is still one of the big unsolved questions in origin of life. We have recently used lipid vesicles (liposomes) as primitive cell models, aiming at the study of the physical mechanisms for macromolecules encapsulation. We have reported that proteins and ribosomes can be encapsulated very efficiently, against statistical expectations, inside a small number of liposomes. Moreover the transcription-translation mixture, which realistically mimics a sort of minimal metabolic network, can be functionally reconstituted in liposomes owing to a self-concentration mechanism. Here we firstly summarize the recent advancements in this research line, highlighting how these results open a new vista on the phenomena that could have been important for the formation of functional primitive cells. Then, we present new evidences on the non-random entrapment of macromolecules (proteins, dextrans) in phospholipid vesicle, and in particular we show how enzymatic reactions can be accelerated because of the enhancement of their concentration inside liposomes.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Experimental approach for constructing semi-synthetic minimal cell (reproduced from [23] with the permission of Elsevier).
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life-05-00969-f001: Experimental approach for constructing semi-synthetic minimal cell (reproduced from [23] with the permission of Elsevier).

Mentions: In the last years, we have been concerned with experimental studies on the “minimal cell” [3], focusing on the simplest and most ancient possible structure of biological cells. Our approach is shown in Figure 1: we incorporate extant genes and enzymes inside lipid vesicles—which function as model of cell membrane. In particular, the term “semi-synthetic minimal cells” has been used to describe minimal cells models that can be realized in the laboratory. This approach has multifold advantages. Firstly, minimal cells can be built in the laboratory since all components are available. Therefore, minimal cells belong to the realm of laboratory approaches. Secondly, this “synthetic” approach [3,21,22] allows testing hypothesis about the minimal complexity required for cellular life. In principle, in fact, it is possible to reconstruct and study the desired functions in a fully artificial system that mimics the cellular structures that existed billions of years ago. Thirdly, physical effects, not only (bio)chemical ones, can be investigated, such as the entrapment of solutes—this will be the main topic of this article. Finally, the methods and strategies applied for constructing minimal cells in origin of life scenario can be exported to other fields, such as synthetic biology, biotechnology, nanomedicine.


Physical Routes to Primitive Cells: An Experimental Model Based on the Spontaneous Entrapment of Enzymes inside Micrometer-Sized Liposomes.

D'Aguanno E, Altamura E, Mavelli F, Fahr A, Stano P, Luisi PL - Life (Basel) (2015)

Experimental approach for constructing semi-synthetic minimal cell (reproduced from [23] with the permission of Elsevier).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4390888&req=5

life-05-00969-f001: Experimental approach for constructing semi-synthetic minimal cell (reproduced from [23] with the permission of Elsevier).
Mentions: In the last years, we have been concerned with experimental studies on the “minimal cell” [3], focusing on the simplest and most ancient possible structure of biological cells. Our approach is shown in Figure 1: we incorporate extant genes and enzymes inside lipid vesicles—which function as model of cell membrane. In particular, the term “semi-synthetic minimal cells” has been used to describe minimal cells models that can be realized in the laboratory. This approach has multifold advantages. Firstly, minimal cells can be built in the laboratory since all components are available. Therefore, minimal cells belong to the realm of laboratory approaches. Secondly, this “synthetic” approach [3,21,22] allows testing hypothesis about the minimal complexity required for cellular life. In principle, in fact, it is possible to reconstruct and study the desired functions in a fully artificial system that mimics the cellular structures that existed billions of years ago. Thirdly, physical effects, not only (bio)chemical ones, can be investigated, such as the entrapment of solutes—this will be the main topic of this article. Finally, the methods and strategies applied for constructing minimal cells in origin of life scenario can be exported to other fields, such as synthetic biology, biotechnology, nanomedicine.

Bottom Line: We have reported that proteins and ribosomes can be encapsulated very efficiently, against statistical expectations, inside a small number of liposomes.Moreover the transcription-translation mixture, which realistically mimics a sort of minimal metabolic network, can be functionally reconstituted in liposomes owing to a self-concentration mechanism.Here we firstly summarize the recent advancements in this research line, highlighting how these results open a new vista on the phenomena that could have been important for the formation of functional primitive cells.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Science Department, Roma Tre University, Viale G. Marconi 446, I-00146 Rome, Italy. Alfred.Fahr@uni-jena.de.

ABSTRACT
How did primitive living cells originate? The formation of early cells, which were probably solute-filled vesicles capable of performing a rudimentary metabolism (and possibly self-reproduction), is still one of the big unsolved questions in origin of life. We have recently used lipid vesicles (liposomes) as primitive cell models, aiming at the study of the physical mechanisms for macromolecules encapsulation. We have reported that proteins and ribosomes can be encapsulated very efficiently, against statistical expectations, inside a small number of liposomes. Moreover the transcription-translation mixture, which realistically mimics a sort of minimal metabolic network, can be functionally reconstituted in liposomes owing to a self-concentration mechanism. Here we firstly summarize the recent advancements in this research line, highlighting how these results open a new vista on the phenomena that could have been important for the formation of functional primitive cells. Then, we present new evidences on the non-random entrapment of macromolecules (proteins, dextrans) in phospholipid vesicle, and in particular we show how enzymatic reactions can be accelerated because of the enhancement of their concentration inside liposomes.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus