Researches of Davis Department OF Biomedical Engineering, at University of California have innovated engineered artificial cells namely “Lego block” that can kill bacteria.
Cheemeng Tan, Assistant Professor who led the work said that they engineered artificial cells like Lego blocks from the bottom up to destroy bacteria. The cells are primarily built with liposomes and purified cellular components including metabolites, DNA, and proteins.
The researchers demonstrated how the artificial cells can interact with, react with, and sense bacteria. These artificial cells function as systems that can detect and kill bacteria without depending much on their environment.
The artificial cells imitate essential features of live cells but only lack long lives and fail to divide themselves for reproduction. These artificial cells are designed to revert to a special signature chemical on E.coli bacteria.
The researchers have successfully detected, attacked, and destroyed the bacteria with artificial cells in their laboratory experiment. Artificial cells have increased their potential and can be broadly used for various applications as earlier they could only succeed in nutrient rich environment but now the researchers have optimized the artificial cell’s genetic circuits, cytosol, and membranes.
These engineered artificial cells can now work in a variety of environment with limited resources such as water. Researchers believe that one day these artificial cells will be implanted inside patient’s body to tackle infections that resist other treatments.
These artificial cells can also be used to deliver drugs at the specific time and location such as biosensors. The work was supported by UC MEXUS-CONACYT doctoral fellowship and NSF. The coauthors of the paper are Michelle Mao, Luis Contreras-Llano, Eliza Morris, and Yunfeng Ding.