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Picture of the Day

Artificial cells are tiny bacteria fighters

"Lego block" artificial cells that can kill bacteria have been created by a tean of National Science Founded-funded researchers. The team's artificial cells mimic the essential features of live cells, but are short-lived and cannot divide to reproduce themselves. The cells were designed to respond to a unique chemical signature on E. coli bacteria. They were able to detect, attack and destroy the bacteria in laboratory experiments. Artificial cells previously only had been successful in nutrient-rich environments. However, by optimizing the artificial cells' membranes, cytosol and genetic circuits, the team made them work in a wide variety of environments with very limited resources such as water, emphasizing their robustness in less-than-ideal or changing conditions. These improvements significantly broaden the overall potential application of artificial cells.

Visit Website | Image credit: Cheemeng Tan/UC Davis