Genetically controlled fusion, exocytosis and fission of artificial vesicles-a roadmap

Eva Bönzli, Maik Hadorn, Davide de Lucrezia, Mikkel Girke Jørgensen, Peter Eggenberger Hotz, Martin Hanczyc, Tetsuya Yomo

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalPosterResearch

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Artificial vesicles represent ideal candidates as a model for artificial cells. It was shown that artificial genetic programs and the required cellular machinery (cell-free expression systems) can be incorporated into vesicles and allow the synthesis of proteins (Noireaux et al. 2005). Vesicles were shown to fuse if a special class of viral proteins, termed fusogenic peptides, were added to the external medium (Nomura et al. 2004). In the present work, we intend to develop genetically controlled fusion, fission and exocytosis of vesicles by the synthesis of peptides within vesicles. First, we enclosed synthesized peptides in vesicles to induce in a next step fusion of adjacent vesicles, fission and exocytosis of nested vesicles. Second, we will replace the peptides by an enclosed cell-free expression system to internally synthesize fusion peptides. To control the gene expression, different mechanisms are available, e.g. addition of transcription factors (Kelley et al. 2010). Changes in the pH are reported to control the activity of the fusion peptides (Nomura et al. 2004). So far, we successfully enclosed a commercially available cell-free system and expressed eGFP in vesicles as a proof of principle. Furthermore, we optimized the already established protocol (Hadorn et al. 2011) to produce nested vesicles in the presence of peptides. This project may present an important step towards an artificial cell. Especially vesicle division is discussed as one of the upcoming challenges in designing an artificial cell (Noireaux et al. 2011). Moreover, it may become important in personalized drug delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • vesicles
  • gene expression
  • fusogenic peptides


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