Description of Research Area

A03: Function | Proposed Research Projects (2016-2017)

Observation and Physical Analysis of Self-Reproducing Protocell


KURUMA, Yutetsu

Earth-Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology

Research Subject

We develop a real-space model to investigate the physical phenomenon that occurred in the cellular scale spatiotemporal field, through reconstruction life phenomena by assembling biopolymers such as lipids, proteins, and nucleotides. GUV (Giant Unilamellar Vesicle) is good candidate as a model cell membrane for the construction of artificial cell. To endow more life-like feature, it is important to produce lipid molecules, which are the parts of the GUV membrane, in the internal environment of the GUV. In this project, we try to synthesize fatty acids (FAs) that actually form the hydrophobic domain of the GUV membrane for the construction of a self-glowing and self-reproducible artificial cell. By this approach, we observe the morphological change of the GUV due to the internal increase of FAs molecules, and investigate that the phenomenon from the physiochemical point of view. Additionally, through reconstructing the metabolic reactions inside GUV, it can be expected to create a novel vesicle system that allows detailed investigation of the dynamics of lipid molecules. Such attempt contributes in the study of Minimal Cell that consists of only necessary factors to sustain cell alive and in the experimental studies about Origin of Life.

Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) on Innovative Areas, MEXT, Japan
Synergy of Fluctuation and Structure : Quest for Universal Laws in Non-Equilibrium Systems