Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vesicles made in MIT

... a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA, led by chemical engineer Daniel Anderson, has figured out how to make artificial cells which they can stuff with these basic molecular components. In doing so they have produced tiny protein factories that are not strictly living in themselves but are free from the general clutter – and the consequent unpredictability – of real organisms.

These pseudo-cells, called vesicles, are tiny – about a tenth the length of an E. coli bacterium. Vesicles form spontaneously in a solution of molecules called lipids, which are the main components of the biological membranes that enclose a cell’s contents.

Remote-controlled protein factories 
by Philip Ball
BBC Future. Science & Technology
The article is interesting as it also touches fundamental questions in attempts to create synthetic life.