CeNS Center for NanoScience LMU Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
CeNS HomepageLMU Homepage
Home  >  Calendar  >  Goepfrich

CeNS Colloquium

Date: 06.05.2022, Time: 15:30h

Faculty of Physics, Kleiner Physikhörsaal N020

The talk will be streamed Opens external link in new windowonline.

jointly organized with Opens external link in new windowSFB1032.

Synthetic Cells: De Novo Engineering with DNA Nanotechnology

Kerstin Göpfrich
Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg

Can we construct a cell from non-living matter? In search for answers, bottom-up synthetic biology has successfully encapsulated functional sets of biomolecules inside lipid vesicles, yet a “living” synthetic cell remains unattained. Instead of relying exclusively on biological building blocks, the integration of new tools can be a shortcut towards the assembly of active and eventually fully functional synthetic cells. This is especially apparent when considering recent advances in DNA nanotechnology. DNA nanotechnology allowed us to engineer various functional parts for synthetic cells, which, meanwhile have found diverse applications as biophysical probes in cell biology. Recently, we engineered functional DNA-based mimics of a cytoskeleton. These cytoskeletons are capable of stimuli-responsive reversible assembly, cargo transport and can deform giant unilamellar lipid vesicles (GUVs) from within. We further demonstrate the division of GUVs based on phase separation or spontaneous curvture increase and osmosis rather than the biological building blocks of a cell’s division machinery. We derive a parameter-free analytical model which makes quantitative predictions that we verify experimentally. The osmolarity increase can be triggered by enzymatic reactions or by light-triggered release of caged compounds. Ultimately, by coupling GUV division to their informational content and their function, we aim for a prototype of a synthetic cell capable of evolution.

Opens external link in new windowZoom-Link