Project

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NANOCELL

Applicant Meier Wolfgang
Number 131060
Funding scheme Project funding (special)
Research institution Physikalische Chemie Departement Chemie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Physical Chemistry
Start/End 01.01.2010 - 31.12.2012
Approved amount 324'000.00
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Keywords (5)

biomolecular machine; synthetic vesicle; protein reconstitution; biomimetic factory; minimal metabolic process

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The mission of NANOCELL is to engineer biomimetic molecular machineries of the cell as building blocks that can be robustly and flexibly assembled to synthetic vesicles with controllable functionality not found in nature. To approach this goal, we will take nature's cellular machineries apart and explore their potential to reconstitute them in new ways. The synthetic 'NANOCELL' resembling a molecular factory is one strong vision that drives this collaborative research project (CRP). In its first step the CRP will master the control of the following biomolecular machines developed by nature, (i) F1Fo ATP synthases, (ii) ATP driven nucleic acid translocating machines (viral portal complexes), (iii) F1Fo ATP synthase based nanopropellers, (iv) proton-driven drug, solute and peptide transporters, and (v) spectrally tuned light-driven proton pumps. Most of these machines have in common that either their structure and mechanism and/or their function have been characterized to unprecedented accuracy very recently, which bears the chance to move on now to this engineering approach. In the biological cell, the function of these machines is linked either to proton gradients or/and the energy-transporting carrier ATP. From a synthetic biology approach we will reconstitute these machines into stable synthetic (i.e., blockpolymers, synthetic lipids) vesicles. Proton gradients that either power biomolecular machines directly, or ATP synthesis, will be generated by the spectrally tunable light- driven proton pumps bacterio- and proteorhodopsins. Short-term goals are to develop strategies to manipulate and engineer the individual biomolecular machines to be used as building blocks to establish a NANOCELL. Procedures for their reconstitution into the synthetic vesicles building the frame of the future NANOCELL will be established. In the long term, we intend to use several of these engineered building blocks to create a first complex NANOCELL. With this approach of establishing engineered building blocks we can functionalize the NANOCELLS to generate, for example, a proton- gradient that guides the uptake or release of drugs, peptides, DNA, or solutes or to physically move the NANOCELL. It is thought to spectrally tune proton-gradients to synthesize ATP used for minimal metabolic processes within the NANOCELL. In the long term, we will integrate other machineries to increase the functional complexity of our NANOCELLS as synthetic biomimetic factories.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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