Our breakfast egg is a peculiarity of nature: a single cell protected by a thin mineral layer. Apart from a number of tiny radiolaria and diatoms, individual cells normally do not have a hard shell.
Korean researchers have now developed a strategy for equipping individual cells of baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, with a synthetic shell made of silicon dioxide. As the team led by Insung S. Choi reports in the journal Angewandte Chemie, the lifespan of these coated yeast cells is tripled, whilst their division is suppressed. The shell also protects the cells from unfavorable external conditions.
Whereas other research efforts previously succeeded in coating yeast cells with a phosphate mineral layer, individual cells have not previously been encapsulated in silicon dioxide. Inspired by the natural shell formation of diatoms, the researchers developed a biomimetic process to coat individual cells under mild physiological conditions. The surfaces of diatoms are covered with special long-chain molecules that contain many positively charged groups of atoms and initiate biomineralization.
The researchers imitated this process by equipping the cell membranes of the yeast cells with synthetic polymers, always alternating layers with many positive charges and layers with many negative charges -- a total of 21 layers. When the yeast cells that have been treated in this way are placed in a solution containing negatively charged silicic acid compounds, these dock onto the outermost positively charged layer of the yeast shell. There they mineralize to silicon dioxide and completely encapsulate the yeast cells.
Genetically modified yeasts are used to produce important pharmaceutical agents. In molecular biological research, easily cultivated yeasts are often used for fundamental investigations of cellular processes and for the diagnosis of human diseases. The protection and improved shelf life possible because of the shell could enable new avenues of research. In addition, the shell could act as a scaffold for the introduction of modifications to the chemical and biological properties.
Author: Insung S. Choi, KAIST, Daejeon (Republic of Korea), http://cisgroup.kaist.ac.kr/
Title: Biomimetic Encapsulation of Individual Cells with Silica
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, doi: 10.1002/anie.200903010
Staying in Shape
16.08.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik
Chips, light and coding moves the front line in beating bacteria
16.08.2018 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences
16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences