CRC 235 Emergence of Life

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The chemistry of chemically fueled droplets

C. Donau and J. Boekhoven 2022 Trends in Chemistry


Carsten Donau and Job Boekhoven

Trends in Chemistry


Liquid compartments without a surrounding membrane control vital functions and chemistries in living cells. One subset of droplets regulated by chemical reactions is chemically fueled droplets. The phase-separating molecules that form these droplets are activated and deactivated by a reaction cycle that consumes a high-energy molecule (i.e., a chemical fuel). That means that the droplet exists out of equilibrium at the expense of chemical energy. This review aims to demonstrate how to design chemically fueled droplets and which types of unique behaviors can be expected. We highlight experimental advances that are corroborated by theory. We close the review with an outlook and aim to bridge the gap between theoreticians and experimentalists to build better liquid droplet models.