Scientists may have just made another breakthrough in biology. A group of researchers has constructed an artificial cell that can perform metabolic reactions similar to those of real cells.
South Korea's ministry of science announced Tuesday that a group of scientists from its country and the United States has developed an artificial cell that can photosynthesize.
Yonhap has discovered that researchers at Sogang and Harvard Universities have successfully constructed a living cell that uses metabolic reactions to effect photosynthesis. They did this by incorporating protein into a simple lipid membrane of enzymes that form adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a complex organic chemical compound involved in many intracellular processes, particularly in energy transfer.
"We designed, built and tested a switchable, light-accepting organelle that is both a sustainable source of energy and a means of controlling intravesical reactors," said scientists in their study, published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Professor of Sogang University and Co-Principle Researchers of the Shin Kwang-woo study said that what they have done basically proves that the basic metabolic functions of a living cell in a liposomal vesicle can be manipulated.
In the past, many researchers have tried to develop an artificial cell, but they have never succeeded. No other study has established a cell that can effectively mimic intracellular metabolic responses such as motile energy carriers and substrate molecules through membranes.
Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and lead author of research Keel Yong Lee explained how they came with the photosynthetic organelle. "Our idea was simple: we chose two protein photocovers ̵
One of the photographers is sensitive to red light while the others are sensitive to green. The scientists used the sensitivity of the photoconverters to induce chemical reactions. The proteins were embedded in a simple lipid membrane along with ATP-producing enzymes. When the membrane is illuminated with red light, a photosynthetic chemical reaction takes place. When green light is used, the reaction stops, according to Phys.org
The study's success will pave the way for scientists to build cells de novo. Kit Parker, the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics at SEAS and Co-Principle Investigator of the study, said, "From fertility medicine, to trauma wounds and to other, more exotic diseases, we now have a basic understanding of the tools and requirements, To control what happens in a cell, the idea of cellular prosthetics is getting closer and closer to this result. "