Paper | Original Paper


Chikako Kurokawa, Kei Fujiwara, Masamune Morita, Ibuki Kawamata, Yui Kawagishi, Atsushi Sakai, Yoshihiro Murayama, Shin-ichiro M. Nomura, Satoshi Murata, *Masahiro Takinoue, and *Miho Yanagisawa,
DNA cytoskeleton for stabilizing artificial cells,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114, 7228-7233 (2017).

[Summary] Cell-sized liposomes and droplets coated with lipid layers have been used as platforms for understanding live cells, constructing artificial cells, and implementing functional biomedical tools such as biosensing platforms and drug delivery systems. However, these systems are very fragile, which results from the absence of cytoskeletons in these systems. Here, we construct an artificial cytoskeleton using DNA nanostructures. The designed DNA oligomers form a Y-shaped nanostructure and connect to each other with their complementary sticky ends to form networks. To undercoat lipid membranes with this DNA network, we used cationic lipids that attract negatively charged DNA. By encapsulating the DNA into the droplets, we successfully created a DNA shell underneath the membrane. The DNA shells increased interfacial tension, elastic modulus, and shear modulus of the droplet surface, consequently stabilizing the lipid droplets. Such drastic changes in stability were detected only when the DNA shell was in the gel phase. Furthermore, we demonstrate that liposomes with the DNA gel shell are substantially tolerant against outer osmotic shock. These results clearly show the DNA gel shell is a stabilizer of the lipid membrane akin to the cytoskeleton in live cells.