Dynamic spatial and structural organization in artificial cells regulates signal processing by protein scaffolding

Bastiaan C. Buddingh, Antoni Llopis-Lorente, Loai K.E.A. Abdelmohsen (Corresponding author), Jan C.M. van Hest (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Structural and spatial organization are fundamental properties of biological systems that allow cells to regulate a wide range of biochemical processes. This organization is often transient and governed by external cues that initiate dynamic self-assembly processes. The construction of synthetic cell-like materials with similar properties requires the hierarchical and reversible organization of selected functional components on molecular scaffolds to dynamically regulate signaling pathways. The realization of such transient molecular programs in synthetic cells, however, remains underexplored due to the associated complexity of such hierarchical platforms. In this contribution, we effectuate dynamic spatial organization of effector protein subunits in a synthetic biomimetic compartment, a giant unilamellar vesicle (GUV), by associating in a reversible manner two fragments of a split luciferase to the membrane. This induces their structural dimerization, which consequently leads to the activation of enzymatic signaling. Importantly, such organization and activation are dynamic processes, and can be autonomously regulated-thus opening up avenues toward continuous spatiotemporal control over supramolecular organization and signaling in an artificial cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12829-12834
Number of pages6
JournalChemical Science
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2020


Anniek den Hamer and Lenne Lemmens are thanked for providing the LgBiT fragment. Ardjan van der Linden and Pascal Pieters are acknowledged for microscopy support. The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Gravitation program 024.001.035) and the ERC Advanced grant Artisym 694120 are acknowledged for funding.

FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme694120
European Research Council
Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap024.001.035


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