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Self‐Emergent Protocells Generated in an Aqueous Solution Crowded by Binary Macromolecules through Liquid‐Liquid Phase Separation

18 Dec 2020

Summary of our research

The research collaboration group of Prof. TSUMOTO Kanta (Mie University, Graduate School of Engineering), Dr. TAKIGUCHI Kingo (Nagoya University, Graduate School of Science), Dr. SAKUTA Hiroki and Ms. FUJITA Fumika (Doshisha University, Graduate School of Life and Medical Sciences), Dr. HAMADA Tsutomu (Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, School of Materials Science), Dr. HAYASHI Masahito (Hosei University, Department of Frontier Bioscience), and Prof. YOSHIKAWA Kenichi (Kyoto University, Institute for Advanced Study) clearly reported that DNA-entrapping microcompartments enclosed with lipid membranes were observed when a binary hydrophilic polymer solution in micro-phase separation was mixed with DNA and phospholipid molecules. Interestingly, the structure of the microcompartments plausibly resembles that of cell organelles enclosed with lipid membranes. The research importantly implies the possibility that this such cell-like structures could emerge spontaneously in the origin of living molecular systems.

This work was published on line in the international journal ChemBioChem on 2020 July 15; moreover, the paper has been featured as the Very Important Paper (VIP) and published in ChemBioChem (2020), Volume 21 (Issue 23), with the Cover Feature.

This work was partly supported by the following KAKENHI: JSPS JP15H02121, JP18 J12947, JP18H04976, JP19 K06540, JP20H01877; MEXT JP25103012, JP24104004.

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Researcher information

Photo of TSUMOTO Kanta

TSUMOTO Kanta, Ph. D.

Professor: Division of Chemistry for Materials Graduate School of Engineering, Mie University

Research area:

molecular bioengineering; liposome engineering; biochemistry; biophysics

Research projects:

Development and application of giant unilamellar vesicles and their high-efficient preparation protocols.

Developments and evaluation of cell-mimic materials useful for medical and life sciences.

Phase separation in biological systems.

Artificial cell membranes functionalized by reconstituted recombinant membrane proteins expressed by recombinant virus/cell expression systems.