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Zelikin Lab publishes in Nature Communications

The research group of Prof. Alexander Zelikin is vested in the development of synthetic cells and specifically the mechanisms of artificial transmembrane signalling. The group’s new publication in Nature Communications reports on their most recent success on this road.

A cell is the smallest unit of cellular life, but it is still highly complex on the molecular level. One critically important function of a cell is to perceive chemical information. This is achieved by using transmembrane proteins, termed signalling receptors, which connect input signals to the corresponding signalling events within the cell.

The Zelikin Lab works to recreate this process in artificial (non-biological) cells. Specifically, the group focuses on the development of methods to send chemical information across a sealed biomolecular membrane. In the manuscript just accepted to print in Nature Communications, they successfully designed such transmembrane signalling using tools of organic chemistry. Using these tools, they created model synthetic cells that respond to the external environment, such as biochemical cues or even inorganic materials, by turning on enzymatic catalysis.

These results open up opportunities to engineer synthetic cells that adapt to external environments, mimicking the hallmark behaviour of cells in nature.

Additional information

   Type of
   Journal article (peer-reviewed)
   No external collaborators
   External funding    Novo Nordisk Foundation (Grant No. NNF20OC0062131)
   Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF FNU Grant No. 0135-
   Lundbeck Foundation (Grant No R164-2013-15291)
   Carlsberg Foundation (Grant No. CF19-0275)      
   Conflict(s) of
   Other    N/A      
   Link to scientific
   Prof. Alexander Zelikin, Department of Chemistry and iNANO,
   Aarhus University
   Tlf.: +45 23 29 79 86. Email: zelikin@chem.au.dk