Mimicking the mechanical properties of the cell cortex by the self-assembly of an actin cortex in vesicles

Tianzhi Luo, Vasudha Srivastava, Yixin Ren, Douglas N. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The composite of the actin cytoskeleton and plasma membrane plays important roles in many biological events. Here, we employed the emulsion method to synthesize artificial cells with biomimetic actin cortex in vesicles and characterized their mechanical properties. We demonstrated that the emulsion method provides the flexibility to adjust the lipid composition and protein concentrations in artificial cells to achieve the desired size distribution, internal microstructure, and mechanical properties. Moreover, comparison of the cortical elasticity measured for reconstituted artificial cells to that of real cells, including those manipulated using genetic depletion and pharmacological inhibition, strongly supports that actin cytoskeletal proteins are dominant over lipid molecules in cortical mechanics. Our study indicates that the assembly of biological systems in artificial cells with purified cellular components provides a powerful way to answer biological questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number153701
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Volume104
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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