Scientists created synthetic living cells with lifelike functionality

At the nexus of living and non-living matter, improving the spontaneous bottom-up construction of artificial cells with high organizational complexity and diversified functions is still a problem.

Scientists- led by the University of Bristol have created synthetic cells, known as protocells, using viscous micro-droplets filled with living bacteria as a microscopic building site.

To build these advanced synthetic cells, which mimic real-life functionality, scientists have harnessed the potential of bacteria.

It causes the release of cellular components that remain trapped inside the droplets to produce membrane-coated bacteriogenic protocells containing thousands of biological molecules, and machinery.

The fact that the protocells could generate RNA and proteins by in vitro gene expression and energy-rich molecules via glycolysis suggested that the inherited bacterial components persisted in cells.

scientists used a series of chemical steps to remodel the bacteriogenic protocells structurally and morphologically. The released bacterial DNA was compressed into a single structure like nucleus.

Next, scientists implanted living bacteria into the protocells to generate self-sustainable ATP production and long-term energization for glycolysis, gene expression, and cytoskeletal assembly.

The photo-living constructs developed an exterior appearance resembling an amoeba due to local bacterial growth and metabolism, creating a cellular bionic system with integrated lifelike features.