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.
Bibliographical note© 2019 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
- Bristol BioDesign Institute
- SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY