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Growth and Division in a Dynamic Protocell Model
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Toward Spatially Regulated Division of Protocells: Insights into the E. coli Min System from in Vitro Studies

Department of Cellular and Molecular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Am Klopferspitz 18, Martinsried 82152, Germany
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Life 2014, 4(4), 915-928; https://doi.org/10.3390/life4040915
Received: 24 October 2014 / Revised: 25 November 2014 / Accepted: 3 December 2014 / Published: 11 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protocells - Designs for Life)
For reconstruction of controlled cell division in a minimal cell model, or protocell, a positioning mechanism that spatially regulates division is indispensable. In Escherichia coli, the Min proteins oscillate from pole to pole to determine the division site by inhibition of the primary divisome protein FtsZ anywhere but in the cell middle. Remarkably, when reconstituted under defined conditions in vitro, the Min proteins self-organize into spatiotemporal patterns in the presence of a lipid membrane and ATP. We review recent progress made in studying the Min system in vitro, particularly focusing on the effects of various physicochemical parameters and boundary conditions on pattern formation. Furthermore, we discuss implications and challenges for utilizing the Min system for division site placement in protocells. View Full-Text
Keywords: protocell; bottom-up synthetic biology; cell division; Min proteins; membranes; self-organization; pattern formation protocell; bottom-up synthetic biology; cell division; Min proteins; membranes; self-organization; pattern formation
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Kretschmer, S.; Schwille, P. Toward Spatially Regulated Division of Protocells: Insights into the E. coli Min System from in Vitro Studies. Life 2014, 4, 915-928.

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