Reconstitution of life-like properties in artificial cells is a current research frontier in synthetic biology. Mimicking metabolism, growth, and sensing are active areas of investigation; however, achieving motility and directional taxis are also challenging in the context of artificial cells. To tackle this problem, recent progress has been made that leverages the tools of active matter physics in synthetic biology. This review surveys the most significant achievements in designing motile cell-like compartments. In this context, strategies for self-propulsion are summarized, including, compartmentalization of catalytically active particles, phoretic propulsion of vesicles and emulsion droplet motion driven by Marangoni flows. This work showcases how the realization of motile protocells may impact biomedical engineering while also aiming at answering fundamental questions in locomotion of prebiotic cells.
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