An artificial multicellular system with spatiotemporal dynamics published in Nature Chemistry
Using water-in-oil droplets, we have created two-dimensional networks of artificial cells separated by lipid bilayer interfaces. Within this "micro-tissue" the cells can communicate via the exchange of small molecule signals. Coupling these signals to cell-free genetic feedback and feedforward circuits results in complex spatiotemporal dynamics in the systems, such as chemical concentration pulses or spatial differentation of initially identical droplets.
A. Dupin & F. C. Simmel, Signalling and differentiation in emulsion-based multi-compartmentalized in vitro gene circuits, Nature Chemistry, Advance Online Publication (2018).