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Carnegie Mellon researchers develop artificial cells to study molecular crowding and gene expression
Date:7/14/2013

t from a crowd of people, Tan said. If only a few people are in a room, it's easy for people to mingle, or even to become isolated. But in a crowded room where it's hard to move around, individuals will often tend to stay close to each other for extended periods. The same thing happens in a cell. If the intracellular space is crowded, binding between molecules increases.

Notably, the researchers found that the dense environments also made gene transcription less sensitive to environmental changes. When the researchers altered concentrations of magnesium, ammonium and spermidine chemicals that modulate the stability and binding of macromolecules they found higher perturbations of gene expression in low density environments than in high density environments.

"Artificial cellular systems have tremendous potential for applications in drug delivery, bioremediation and cellular computing," Tan said. "Our findings underscore how scientists could harness functioning mechanisms of natural cells to their advantage to control these synthetic cellular systems, as well as in hybrid systems that combine synthetic materials and natural cells."


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Contact: Byron Spice
bspice@cs.cmu.edu
412-268-9068
Carnegie Mellon University
Source:Eurekalert

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