DNA-based artificial molecular signaling system that mimics basic elements of reception and response.


Molecular Science and Biomedicine Laboratory (MBL), State Key Laboratory of Chemo/Bio-Sensing and Chemometrics, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, College of Biology, and Aptamer Engineering Center of Hunan Province, Hunan University, Changsha, Hunan, 410082, People's Republic of China. [Email]


In order to maintain tissue homeostasis, cells communicate with the outside environment by receiving molecular signals, transmitting them, and responding accordingly with signaling pathways. Thus, one key challenge in engineering molecular signaling systems involves the design and construction of different modules into a rationally integrated system that mimics the cascade of molecular events. Herein, we rationally design a DNA-based artificial molecular signaling system that uses the confined microenvironment of a giant vesicle, derived from a living cell. This system consists of two main components. First, we build an adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-driven DNA nanogatekeeper. Second, we encapsulate a signaling network in the biomimetic vesicle, consisting of distinct modules, able to sequentially initiate a series of downstream reactions playing the roles of reception, transduction and response. Operationally, in the presence of ATP, nanogatekeeper switches from the closed to open state. The open state then triggers the sequential activation of confined downstream signaling modules.

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