Scientists have built artificial cells which sense and respond to surrounding conditions
Scientists from imperial college London are working on building artificial cells. These cells imitate chemical responses simply. This makes it easy to engineer them. Researchers have now created artificial cells which sense and respond to signals received externally. It activates pathways that signal to artificial cells. The team has built cells that can sense ions of calcium and respond to it by glowing.
The team of scientist has created cells that have smaller cells inside. The outer cover of the cell is formed from membranes that have pores. Pores allow entry to calcium ions. On the inside of these artificial cells, calcium ions activate enzymes which cause vesicles to liberate glowing particles. This is very easy as compared to the natural system. It is because the natural system gives out by-products which are toxic to cells. There is no such issue in artificial cells. Membrane pores, as well as enzymes triggered by calcium ions, are from a biological system. The enzyme is taken from the bee’s venom. Responding to chemical changes is an essential function carried out by biological cells. Cells respond to various chemicals by creating specific proteins or boost production of energy or destroy specific cells. For natural cells, this process of chemical response is very complex.
These new systems of artificial cells could be developed further and implemented in the field of biotechnology. The scientist has the vision to use these cells for the treatment of cancer. These cells could identify cancer markers and prepare a drug within the body. Also, in detecting heavy metals present in the environment and release sponge to clean it up. In this project, a scientist has created an efficient path which produces the same results but takes lesser time. This system is also called as a plug and play system. Scientists emphasize on the strength of artificial cells to generate chemical responses as the mixing of different elements found independently in nature.