Modulation of Higher-order Behaviour in Model Protocell Communities by Artificial Phagocytosis

Laura Rodríguez-Arco, B V V S Pavan Kumar, Mei Li, Avinash J Patil, Stephen Mann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
273 Downloads (Pure)


Collective behaviour in mixed populations of synthetic protocells is an unexplored area of bottom-up synthetic biology. The dynamics of a model protocell community is exploited to modulate the function and higher-order behaviour of mixed populations of bioinorganic protocells in response to a process of artificial phagocytosis. Enzyme-loaded silica colloidosomes are spontaneously engulfed by magnetic Pickering emulsion (MPE) droplets containing complementary enzyme substrates to initiate a range of processes within the host/guest protocells. Specifically, catalase, lipase, or alkaline phosphatase-filled colloidosomes are used to trigger phagocytosis-induced buoyancy, membrane reconstruction, or hydrogelation, respectively, within the MPE droplets. The results highlight the potential for exploiting surface-contact interactions between different membrane-bounded droplets to transfer and co-locate discrete chemical packages (artificial organelles) in communities of synthetic protocells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6333-6337
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number19
Early online date12 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.

Structured keywords

  • BrisSynBio
  • Bristol BioDesign Institute


  • colloids
  • emulsions
  • enzymes
  • microcapsules
  • protocells


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