Biomimicry of Cellular Motility and Communication Based on Synthetic Soft-Architectures

Lei Wang, Shidong Song, Jan van Hest, Loai K.E.A. Abdelmohsen, Xin Huang, Samuel Sánchez (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Cells, sophisticated membrane-bound units that contain the fundamental molecules of life, provide a precious library for inspiration and motivation for both society and academia. Scientists from various disciplines have made great endeavors toward the understanding of the cellular evolution by engineering artificial counterparts (protocells) that mimic or initiate structural or functional cellular aspects. In this regard, several works have discussed possible building blocks, designs, functions, or dynamics that can be applied to achieve this goal. Although great progress has been made, fundamental—yet complex—behaviors such as cellular communication, responsiveness to environmental cues, and motility remain a challenge, yet to be resolved. Herein, recent efforts toward utilizing soft systems for cellular mimicry are summarized—following the main outline of cellular evolution, from basic compartmentalization, and biological reactions for energy production, to motility and communicative behaviors between artificial cell communities or between artificial and natural cell communities. Finally, the current challenges and future perspectives in the field are discussed, hoping to inspire more future research and to help the further advancement of this field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1907680
Number of pages19
Issue number27
Early online date6 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • biomimicry
  • coacervates
  • communication
  • micro/nanoswimmers
  • polymersomes
  • proteinosomes
  • protocells

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