Saturday, September 6, 2014



Biophysicists at Germany’s Technical University of Munich along with an international team developed simple self-propelled biomachines in a quest to create cell models that display biomechanical functions.

The researchers say their work represents the first time a movable cytoskeleton membrane has been fabricated.

They did it by making sealed packets of double-layered lipid membranes, like those surrounding real cells. Inside the packets, they inserted microtubules like those that create cellular cytoskeletons and kinesins, the tiny proteins that act like motors and move objects along the cytoskeletons of real cells. At high microtubule concentrations, they were able to coat the entire membrane’s surface with bundles of microtubules that are capable of being stretched out and protruded. They then added adenosine triphosphate, the cellular energy source, to make the system go.

The result is a tunable, shape-changing biomachine that can move through shifting of the microtubules and by growing long projections called filopodia.



Image: Vesicles on the move.
Credit: Keb
er, Loiseau, and Bausch
Corina marinescu

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