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Publication - Professor Stephen Mann

    DNA-based communication in populations of synthetic protocells


    Joesaar, A, Yang, S, Bögels, B, Linden, Avd, Pieters, P, Kumar, BV, Dalchau, N, Phillips, A, Mann, S & Greef, TFd, 2019, ‘DNA-based communication in populations of synthetic protocells’. Nature Nanotechnology, vol 14., pp. 369-378


    Developing molecular communication platforms based on orthogonal communication channels is a crucial step towards engineering artificial multicellular systems. Here, we present a general and scalable platform entitled ‘biomolecular implementation of protocellular communication’ (BIO-PC) to engineer distributed multichannel molecular communication between populations of non-lipid semipermeable microcapsules. Our method leverages the modularity and scalability of enzyme-free DNA strand-displacement circuits to develop protocellular consortia that can sense, process and respond to DNA-based messages. We engineer a rich variety of biochemical communication devices capable of cascaded amplification, bidirectional communication and distributed computational operations. Encapsulating DNA strand-displacement circuits further allows their use in concentrated serum where non-compartmentalized DNA circuits cannot operate. BIO-PC enables reliable execution of distributed DNA-based molecular programs in biologically relevant environments and opens new directions in DNA computing and minimal cell technology.

    Full details in the University publications repository