Special Issue "Protocells - Designs for Life"

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A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Life Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Fabio Mavelli
Chemistry Department, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70124 Bari
Website: http://www.chimica.uniba.it/dipartimento/personale/250-mavelli-fabio
Interests: origins of life; emergence of life, synthetic cells; confined reactions; stochastic simulations; random fluctuation effects
Guest Editor
Dr. Pasquale Stano
Science Department, University Roma Tre, Viale G. Marconi 446, 00146 Rome
Website: http://www.plluisi.org/stano.html
Interests: origins of life; synthetic biology; artificial life; synthetic cells; drug delivery; bio-chem-ICTs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last few decades, the study of liposome-based minimal cell models has gained prominence in an interdisciplinary field concerning the origins of life and synthetic biology. These models have stimulated, and continue to stimulate, a large number of scientists, whose contributions are complementary.
From an experimental point of view, several approaches are currently under scrutiny, from the semi-synthetic cell model, to one that is strictly prebiotic, to the fully synthetic one. Despite the apparent diversity in this research field, recent efforts and discoveries have collectively contributed to increasing our knowledge of the physico-chemical conditions that promoted the transition from non-living to living matter; this knowledge sheds light on the origin of early cells on earth and at the same time, enables novel advancements in synthetic cell technology that might be useful for applicative research.
On the other hand, the structure of these cell model systems, whose complexity is sufficient for displaying emergent properties (but at the same time is “minimal”), can also be studied via detailed in silico models with both deterministic and stochastic approaches. These computational studies, especially when based on realistic hypotheses or on parameters inferred by experimental data, allow for the exploration of dynamical behaviors that can be difficult to investigate experimentally. The studies can also be useful for elucidating the effects of reaction compartmentalization and the rule of random fluctuations on protocell population dynamics.
Altogether, in silico and in vitro investigations are paving the way to a novel research arena that appears to be both very rich (thanks to its intrinsic interdisciplinary character) and promising (because only via synthetic/constructive approaches is it possible to enquire about the features of simple, early cells). This approach also stimulates more theoretical considerations with respect to intriguing questions, such as “what is life?” and further supports abiogenesis as the best theoretical framework, from a scientific viewpoint, for understanding the emergence of living systems on Earth.
Therefore, the study of minimal cell models is now an exciting multidisciplinary area of research mainly aimed at identifying the physico-chemical constraints (or unexpected and helpful emerging features) that are pertinent to the organization of dynamic chemical networks inside micro-compartments. This Special Issue covers all aspects of minimal cell models(i.e., experimental and computational models). The submission of scientific perspectives, comprehensive reviews or research articles is most welcome.

Prof. Dr. Fabio Mavelli
Dr. Pasquale Stano
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Life is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • artificial cells
  • autopoiesis
  • cell-free systems
  • emergence of life
  • minimal cells
  • origin of life
  • protocells
  • random fluctuations effect
  • stochastic simulations

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Displaying article 1-17
p. 1239-1263
by  and
Life 2015, 5(2), 1239-1263; doi:10.3390/life5021239
Received: 3 March 2015 / Revised: 1 April 2015 / Accepted: 2 April 2015 / Published: 10 April 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
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p. 1019-1053
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Life 2015, 5(2), 1019-1053; doi:10.3390/life5021019
Received: 1 January 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2015 / Accepted: 16 March 2015 / Published: 25 March 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
p. 969-996
by , , , ,  and
Life 2015, 5(1), 969-996; doi:10.3390/life5010969
Received: 13 February 2015 / Revised: 8 March 2015 / Accepted: 10 March 2015 / Published: 18 March 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
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p. 872-887
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Life 2015, 5(1), 872-887; doi:10.3390/life5010872
Received: 12 October 2014 / Revised: 17 February 2015 / Accepted: 6 March 2015 / Published: 13 March 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
p. 651-675
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Life 2015, 5(1), 651-675; doi:10.3390/life5010651
Received: 11 October 2014 / Revised: 11 February 2015 / Accepted: 24 February 2015 / Published: 2 March 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
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p. 447-458
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Life 2015, 5(1), 447-458; doi:10.3390/life5010447
Received: 25 October 2014 / Accepted: 2 February 2015 / Published: 9 February 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
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p. 459-466
by , , ,  and
Life 2015, 5(1), 459-466; doi:10.3390/life5010459
Received: 5 November 2014 / Accepted: 2 February 2015 / Published: 9 February 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
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p. 214-229
by , ,  and
Life 2015, 5(1), 214-229; doi:10.3390/life5010214
Received: 30 October 2014 / Revised: 29 December 2014 / Accepted: 6 January 2015 / Published: 19 January 2015
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
p. 181-211
by ,  and
Life 2015, 5(1), 181-211; doi:10.3390/life5010181
Received: 14 October 2014 / Accepted: 4 January 2015 / Published: 13 January 2015
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p. 1092-1116
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Life 2014, 4(4), 1092-1116; doi:10.3390/life4041092
Received: 1 October 2014 / Revised: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published: 19 December 2014
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p. 1038-1049
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Life 2014, 4(4), 1038-1049; doi:10.3390/life4041038
Received: 31 October 2014 / Revised: 8 December 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published: 17 December 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
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p. 915-928
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Life 2014, 4(4), 915-928; doi:10.3390/life4040915
Received: 24 October 2014 / Revised: 25 November 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 11 December 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
p. 929-943
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Life 2014, 4(4), 929-943; doi:10.3390/life4040929
Received: 7 October 2014 / Revised: 21 November 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 11 December 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
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p. 837-864
by , , , ,  and
Life 2014, 4(4), 837-864; doi:10.3390/life4040837
Received: 30 August 2014 / Revised: 25 October 2014 / Accepted: 10 November 2014 / Published: 3 December 2014
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p. 598-620
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Life 2014, 4(4), 598-620; doi:10.3390/life4040598
Received: 18 September 2014 / Revised: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 17 October 2014 / Published: 3 November 2014
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(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
p. 586-597
by  and
Life 2014, 4(4), 586-597; doi:10.3390/life4040586
Received: 23 September 2014 / Revised: 17 October 2014 / Accepted: 22 October 2014 / Published: 29 October 2014
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p. 457-490
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Life 2014, 4(3), 457-490; doi:10.3390/life4030457
Received: 2 August 2014 / Accepted: 25 August 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
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Last update: 14 April 2015

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