Science and Technology News

Monday, January 30, 2012

Asymmetric Division of a Polarized Artificial Cell (Image 2)

Asymmetric division of a polarized artificial cell results in daughter cells that differ in membrane and interior compositions. In this, the final panel, one of the daughter cells has polarized. Scale bar indicates 10 microns.

In this asymmetric division of a primitive model cell, the cell is composed of a lipid membrane that encapsulates a polymer solution. Two coexisting lipid membrane phase domains are labeled red and green, and a protein that concentrates into the dextran-rich aqueous phase domain is labeled in blue. Sucrose was added from left to right to draw water out of the vesicle by osmosis. After the division event, one of the daughter vesicles contains only red membrane and encapsulates the dextran-rich aqueous phase along with most of the protein molecules, while the other vesicle inherits both red and green membrane encapsulating the PEG-rich aqueous phase. The scale bar indicates ten microns. [Research supported by the National Science Foundation Chemistry Division (grant CHE 07-50196) and by the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Division.] (Date of Image: 2011)

Credit: Meghan Andes-Koback and Christine Keating, Chemistry Department, Penn State University

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