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Publication - Professor Stephen Mann

    Autonomic Behaviors in Lipase-Active Oil Droplets


    Wang, L, Lin, Y, Zhou, Y, Xie, H, Song, J, Li, M, Huang, Y, Huang, X & Mann, S, 2019, ‘Autonomic Behaviors in Lipase-Active Oil Droplets’. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, vol 58., pp. 1067-1071


    Developing self-fueled micro-reactor droplets with programmable autonomic behaviors provides a step towards smart liquid dispersions comprising motile microscale objects. Herein, we prepare aqueous suspensions of lipase-coated oil globules comprising a mixture of a triglyceride substrate (tributyrin, 1,2,3-tributylglycerol) and a low-density oil (polydimethylsiloxane, PDMS) and describe a range of active behaviors based on controlled enzyme-mediated consumption of individual droplets under non-equilibrium conditions. Encapsulation of the lipase-coated lipid/PDMS droplets into a model protocell as energy-rich sub-compartments is demonstrated as an internalized mechanism for activating protocell buoyancy. Taken together, our results highlight opportunities for the regulation of autonomic behavior in enzyme-powered oil droplets and provide a new platform for increasing the functionality and energization of synthetic protocells.

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