Biophysics Journal Club

Mechanochemical feedback loop drives persistent motion of liposomes

Koushik Bar, SFU Physics
Location: P8445.2

Wednesday, 09 August 2023 12:30PM PDT


Achieving autonomous motion is a central objective in designing artificial cells that mimic biological cells in form and function. Cellular motion often involves complex multiprotein machineries, which are challenging to reconstitute in vitro. Here we achieve persistent motion of cell-sized liposomes. These small artificial vesicles are driven by a direct mechanochemical feedback loop between the MinD and MinE protein systems of Escherichia coli and the liposome membrane. Membrane-binding Min proteins self-organize asymmetrically around the liposomes, which results in shape deformation and generates a mechanical force gradient leading to motion. The protein distribution responds to the deformed liposome shape through the inherent geometry sensitivity of the reaction–diffusion dynamics of the Min proteins. We show that such a mechanochemical feedback loop between liposome and Min proteins is sufficient to drive continuous motion. Our combined experimental and theoretical study provides a starting point for the future design of motility features in artificial cells.