CRC 235 Emergence of Life

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Genetically Encoded Membranes for Bottom‐Up Biology

K. Vogele 2019 ChemSystemsChem.


K. Vogele, T. Pirzer and F.C. Simmel



The creation of self‐replicating cell‐mimicking systems – artificial cells – is one of the major goals of bottom‐up synthetic biology. An essential aspect of such systems is the realization of membranous compartments which can grow and divide in synchrony with the internal dynamics of the cells. Amphiphiles capable of forming membranes may be either externally provided to feed the growing compartments, or generated in situ through chemical processes. In the context of autonomously self‐replicating systems, genetically encoded membranes are of particular interest. Herein, we discuss typical approaches taken for the creation of cell‐like microcompartments via self‐assembly of amphiphiles. We specifically address some of the challenges associated with the generation of phospholipid or peptide‐based membranes via genetic and enzymatic processes.