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Journal Article

Communication and quorum sensing in non-living mimics of eukaryotic cells

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Niederholtmeyer, H., Chaggan, C., & Devaraj, N. K. (2018). Communication and quorum sensing in non-living mimics of eukaryotic cells. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 9: 5027. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07473-7.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-6F39-B
Cells in tissues or biofilms communicate with one another through chemical and mechanical signals to coordinate collective behaviors. Non-living cell mimics provide simplified models of natural systems; however, it has remained challenging to implement communication capabilities comparable to living cells. Here we present a porous artificial cell-mimic containing a nucleus-like DNA-hydrogel compartment that is able to express and display proteins, and communicate with neighboring cell-mimics through diffusive protein signals. We show that communication between cell-mimics allows distribution of tasks, quorum sensing, and cellular differentiation according to local environment. Cell-mimics can be manufactured in large quantities, easily stored, chemically modified, and spatially organized into diffusively connected tissue-like arrangements, offering a means for studying communication in large ensembles of artificial cells.