Special Issue "Advances in Synthetic Biology: Artificial Cells and Cell-Free Systems"
A special issue of Cells (ISSN 2073-4409).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2018)
The construction of synthetic cells of minimal complexity, i.e., protocells, is today one of the most attractive and challenging goals in synthetic biology. Two different approaches can be adopted: Starting from living beings and reducing their complexity (top down approach) or assembling inanimate compounds by combining liposome technologies and microfluidics with components of cell-free systems (bottom up approach).
The aim of this Special Issue is to illustrate the state-of-the-art of bottom up synthetic cell research by presenting current trends and field-leading work that could lead to qualitative advancement in the coming years.
Distillations of trends and work include: novel multi-compartment vesicles; the achieving of new functions via the reconstitution of trans-membrane proteins; the shift from the isolated cell to the cell population/community perspective; the exploitation of molecular signalling; and the integration of mathematical models.
The final aim is the construction of protocells that can exhibit biologically reliable and predictable behaviour, mimicking some cellular functionalities or implementing new functions that can be activated in response to an external input. In this sense, a protocell can be viewed as a soft bio-robot capable of performing computational tasks in order to solve problems that emerge in its external environment. Future applications include bio-remediation, fuel production, smart drug delivery, disease diagnosis, in situ (bio)synthesis of drugs, and collective interaction for distributed computation.
Dr. Wen Shan Yew
Dr. Fabio Mavelli
Manuscript Submission Information
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- synthetic cells
- chemical signaling
- trans-membrane protein reconstitution
- giant lipid vesicles