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Formation of polarised, functional artificial cells from compartmentalised droplet networks and nanomaterials, using one-step, dual-material 3D-printed microfluidics

Li, Jin ORCID:, Baxani Kamal, Divesh, Jamieson, William David ORCID:, Xu, Wen, Garcia Rocha, Victoria ORCID:, Barrow, David Anthony ORCID: and Castell, Oliver Kieran ORCID: 2020. Formation of polarised, functional artificial cells from compartmentalised droplet networks and nanomaterials, using one-step, dual-material 3D-printed microfluidics. Advanced Science 7 (1) , 1901719. 10.1002/advs.201901719

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The bottom‐up construction of synthetic cells with user‐defined chemical organization holds considerable promise in the creation of bioinspired materials. Complex emulsions, droplet networks, and nested vesicles all represent platforms for the engineering of segregated chemistries with controlled communication, analogous to biological cells. Microfluidic manufacture of such droplet‐based materials typically results in radial or axisymmetric structures. In contrast, biological cells frequently display chemical polarity or gradients, which enable the determination of directionality, and inform higher‐order interactions. Here, a dual‐material, 3D‐printing methodology to produce microfluidic architectures that enable the construction of functional, asymmetric, hierarchical, emulsion‐based artificial cellular chassis is developed. These materials incorporate droplet networks, lipid membranes, and nanoparticle components. Microfluidic 3D‐channel arrangements enable symmetry‐breaking and the spatial patterning of droplet hierarchies. This approach can produce internal gradients and hemispherically patterned, multilayered shells alongside chemical compartmentalization. Such organization enables incorporation of organic and inorganic components, including lipid bilayers, within the same entity. In this way, functional polarization, that imparts individual and collective directionality on the resulting artificial cells, is demonstrated. This approach enables exploitation of polarity and asymmetry, in conjunction with compartmentalized and networked chemistry, in single and higher‐order organized structures, thereby increasing the palette of functionality in artificial cellular materials.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Business (Including Economics)
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Wiley Open Access
ISSN: 2198-3844
Funders: EPSRC, MRC, Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 16 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 9 October 2019
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2023 02:05

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