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Artificial Spores: Cytocompatible Encapsulation of Individual Living Cells within Thin, Tough Artificial Shells

Authors

  • Sung Ho Yang,

    1. Department of Chemistry Education, Korea National University of Education, Chungbuk 363-791, Korea
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  • Daewha Hong,

    1. Center for Cell-Encapsulation Research and Molecular-Level Interface Research Center, Department of Chemistry, KAIST, Daejeon 305-701, Korea
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  • Juno Lee,

    1. Center for Cell-Encapsulation Research and Molecular-Level Interface Research Center, Department of Chemistry, KAIST, Daejeon 305-701, Korea
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  • Eun Hyea Ko,

    1. Center for Cell-Encapsulation Research and Molecular-Level Interface Research Center, Department of Chemistry, KAIST, Daejeon 305-701, Korea
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  • Insung S. Choi

    Corresponding author
    1. Center for Cell-Encapsulation Research and Molecular-Level Interface Research Center, Department of Chemistry, KAIST, Daejeon 305-701, Korea
    • Center for Cell-Encapsulation Research and Molecular-Level Interface Research Center, Department of Chemistry, KAIST, Daejeon 305-701, Korea.
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Abstract

Cells are encapsulated individually within thin and tough shells in a cytocompatible way, by mimicking the structure of bacterial endospores that survive under hostile conditions. The 3D ‘cell-in-shell’ structures—coined as ‘artificial spores'—enable modulation and control over cellular metabolism, such as control of cell division, resistance to external stresses, and surface-functionalizability, providing a useful platform for applications, including cell-based sensors, cell therapy, regenerative medicine, as well as for fundamental studies on cellular metabolism at the single-cell level and cell-to-cell communications. This Concept focuses on chemical approaches to single-cell encapsulation with artificial shells for creating artificial spores, including cross-linked layer-by-layer assembly, bioinspired mineralization, and mussel-inspired polymerization. The current status and future prospects of this emerging field are also discussed.

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