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Cytoskeletal-like Supramolecular Assembly and Nanoparticle-Based Motors in a Model Protocell


  • We thank the EPSRC and the China Scholarship Council (X.Y.) for supporting this study, James Grieve (particle tracking, viscosity measurements), Andy Salmon (aspiration experiments), Stuart Bellamy (optical microscopy), and David Williams (data analysis) for help with experiments, and the Bristol Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information and Bristol Wolfson Bioimaging Suite for providing facilities.


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Busting a move: Enzyme-mediated assembly of an amino acid derived supramolecular hydrogel is used to produce a vesicle-based protocell model with a primitive cytoskeletal-like interior. The vesicles show temperature-induced changes in morphology (see picture), and undergo chemically driven self-propulsion when Pt nanoparticles are attached to their external surface and H2O2 is added to the solution.