Special Issue "Recent Advances of Molecular Machines and Molecular Robots"

A special issue of Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X). This special issue belongs to the section "B:Biology and Biomedicine".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Masahiro Takinoue
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Computer Science, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), 4259-J2-36 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 226-8502, Japan
Interests: biophysics; soft matter physics; artificial cells/organelles; DNA nanotechnology; molecular robotics; microfluidics
Prof. Dr. Ryuji Kawano
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biotechnology and Life Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), 2-24-16 Naka-cho, Koganei-shi, Tokyo 184-8588, Japan
Interests: nanopore; lipid bilayer; DNA computing; microfabrication; molecular robotics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

"Recent Advances of Molecular Machines and Molecular Robots" is a highly interdisciplinary research field including material science, chemistry, biotechnology, biophysics, soft matter physics, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), and computer science. Molecular machine engineering is based on motor protein science and supramolecular chemistry and is currently expanded to the development of dynamical molecular machinery. In addition, the research field of molecular robotics originates from DNA nanotechnology and DNA computing and has recently yielded results in the construction of dynamical molecular machinery by taking advantage of the characteristics of sequence-based programmable design. The interaction between these two fields will furthermore promote the development of nanometer- or micrometer-sized dynamical and programmable robotic systems equipped with molecular sensors and molecular intelligence. In this Special Issue, we would like you to contribute research papers, short communications, and review articles related to molecular machine engineering and molecular robotics from a wide range of research fields. By overviewing the recent advances in this field, we would like to ferment seeds of future applications such as medical microrobots, intelligent drug delivery systems, artificial cells/organelles, environmental nano/microsensor robots, agricultural nano/microrobots, and unconventional brain-like computers.

Prof. Dr. Masahiro Takinoue
Prof. Dr. Ryuji Kawano
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Micromachines is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly 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 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Molecular Robotics
  • Molecular Machine Engineering
  • DNA Nanotechnology, DNA Computing, and Molecular Programming
  • Artificial Cell/Organelle Engineering
  • Bio Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (BioMEMS), Biomicrofluidics, and Micro-Total Analysis Systems (MicroTAS)
  • Biophysics, Soft Matter Physics, and Active Matter Physics
  • Polymer Chemistry and Supramolecular Chemistry
  • Protein Engineering and Peptide Engineering
  • Liposomes and Lipid Bilayer Systems
  • Medical applications, Agricultural applications, and Environmental applications

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Environment-Sensitive Intelligent Self-Reproducing Artificial Cell with a Modification-Active Lipo-Deoxyribozyme
Micromachines 2020, 11(6), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11060606 - 22 Jun 2020
Abstract
As a supramolecular micromachine with information flow, a giant vesicle (GV)-based artificial cell that exhibits a linked proliferation between GV reproduction and internal DNA amplification has been explored in this study. The linked proliferation is controlled by a complex consisting of GV membrane-intruded [...] Read more.
As a supramolecular micromachine with information flow, a giant vesicle (GV)-based artificial cell that exhibits a linked proliferation between GV reproduction and internal DNA amplification has been explored in this study. The linked proliferation is controlled by a complex consisting of GV membrane-intruded DNA with acidic amphiphilic catalysts, working overall as a lipo-deoxyribozyme. Here, we investigated how a GV-based artificial cell containing this lipo-deoxyribozyme responds to diverse external and internal environments, changing its proliferative dynamics. We observed morphological changes (phenotypic expression) in GVs induced by the addition of membrane precursors with different intervals of addition (starvation periods). First, we focused on a new phenotype, the “multiple tubulated” form, which emerged after a long starvation period. Compared to other forms, the multiple tubulated form is characterized by a larger membrane surface with a heavily cationic charge. A second consideration is the effect of the chain length of encapsulated DNA on competitive proliferation. The competitive proliferation among three different species of artificial cells containing different lengths of DNA was investigated. The results clearly showed a distinct intervention in the proliferation dynamics of the artificial cells with each other. In this sense, our GV-based artificial cell can be regarded as an intelligent supramolecular machine responding to external and internal environments, providing a new concept for developing molecular machines and robotics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Molecular Machines and Molecular Robots)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Development of Artificial Cell Models Using Microfluidic Technology and Synthetic Biology
Micromachines 2020, 11(6), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11060559 - 30 May 2020
Abstract
Giant lipid vesicles or liposomes are primarily composed of phospholipids and form a lipid bilayer structurally similar to that of the cell membrane. These vesicles, like living cells, are 5–100 μm in diameter and can be easily observed using an optical microscope. As [...] Read more.
Giant lipid vesicles or liposomes are primarily composed of phospholipids and form a lipid bilayer structurally similar to that of the cell membrane. These vesicles, like living cells, are 5–100 μm in diameter and can be easily observed using an optical microscope. As their biophysical and biochemical properties are similar to those of the cell membrane, they serve as model cell membranes for the investigation of the biophysical or biochemical properties of the lipid bilayer, as well as its dynamics and structure. Investigation of membrane protein functions and enzyme reactions has revealed the presence of soluble or membrane proteins integrated in the giant lipid vesicles. Recent developments in microfluidic technologies and synthetic biology have enabled the development of well-defined artificial cell models with complex reactions based on the giant lipid vesicles. In this review, using microfluidics, the formations of giant lipid vesicles with asymmetric lipid membranes or complex structures have been described. Subsequently, the roles of these biomaterials in the creation of artificial cell models including nanopores, ion channels, and other membrane and soluble proteins have been discussed. Finally, the complex biological functions of giant lipid vesicles reconstituted with various types of biomolecules has been communicated. These complex artificial cell models contribute to the production of minimal cells or protocells for generating valuable or rare biomolecules and communicating between living cells and artificial cell models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances of Molecular Machines and Molecular Robots)
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