If you are similar to me in that you aren’t satisfied with the current state of artificial cells and want to “more accurately replicate the gel-like properties of intracellular and extracellular biological environments” you’re in luck. New studies have been published that show how to do this, but first, we must understand what hydrogel is. Hydrogel is made of two polysaccharides: cellulose and chondroitin sulfate. A polysaccharide is a carbohydrate, meaning its elements are CH2O. Carbohydrates are found in sugars and starches, and they’re used for energy. Hydrogel is made by joining cellulose and chondroitin sulfate through a dehydration reaction. Forming a glycosidic linkage.
Now that we know hydrogel, how do you think it could be used to create artificial cells? The answer is in its backbone. Scientists graft anti-Hist-tag aptamers into the backbone of a bunch of polymers made up of cellulose and chondroitin sulfate, along with feeding nutrients this artificial cell can perform protein expression for more than 16 days. This discovery is used to accurately replicate intracellular and extracellular biological environments.
Here are some examples of how scientists plan to use these artificial cells: therapeutic delivery, biosensing, cell therapy, and bioremediation. Therapeutic delivery is the act of bringing a compound to a specific site in the body. Biosensing detects pathogens, such as E. coli, in food. Cell therapy is the act of injecting healthy cells into a patient. Lastly, bioremediation is when an organism consumes and breaks down pollutants in our environment. It’s astonishing to see every way these artificial cells can be used, and I hope you’re excited about how much these cells can help save lives.